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Canadian Hunter Loses Job for Saving Baby Moose

Canadian Oil Worker Saves Baby Moose from Highway Danger

By: Heather Stouffer June 12, 2018

A Canadian oil worker has become an internet sensation after he rescued a baby moose from certain death on a road trip north of Fort Nelson. Mark Skage, a British Columbia resident and host of the Canadian-produced hunting show “Start Em Young,” was driving when he spotted a moose calf alone on the side of the road. With no mama moose in sight and several vehicles nearly hitting the baby moose, Skage decided to step out and try to scare it off the highway and back into the woods. However, when he opened the door, the animal made a beeline for his truck and tried to hop in.

“After the second time she tried to get in, I looked up across the road. I just happened to glance over there — and halfway across the ditch, maybe like 50 yards, there was a black bear standing there,” Skage recounted.

“I thought, ‘Oh, shit’.”

“I just couldn’t do it, in my heart. People can say all they want. As outdoorsmen, we talk about predator control,” Skage explained.

“Black bears are the number one predator for those calves. So I just thought, ‘Well, I can’t take care of the predator, but I guess maybe I can try and help out this little calf.’”

Skage herded the moose he later dubbed Misty around to the passenger side of his truck and started in the cab to make room for his new ride-or-die. According to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, black bears kill about 40% of moose calves in northern areas where black bears and grizzlies share habitats.

“I’ll admit I didn’t sit there for half an hour going over every scenario of who I would upset,” Skage said. “I just went, ‘You came for help; I’ve got to give you help.’”

Some internet commenters were surprised to discover that Skage is also an avid moose hunter and the host of the Canadian-produced hunting show Start Em Young. However, love and respect for the animals they hunt is something most outdoorsmen understand on a marrow-deep level. Hunters often save game animals from some pretty dangerous situations.

Resulting Controversy

Skage’s employer, AFD Petroleum Inc., saw things differently. They were “in grievous conflict with their wildlife policies.” AFD president Dale Reimer said in an emailed statement, “The individual made the independent decision to transport an uninjured moose calf, a wild animal, in the front seat of his company vehicle for many hours… This not only put the employee and other road users at risk but also potentially caused distress and harm to the moose.”

AFD disputed Skage’s story of what happened on that roadside encounter, claiming there was no evidence of a bear in the truck’s two-way video footage and that he didn’t sufficiently search for the calf’s mother before hitting the road to find a safe, bear-free spot away from the highway.

“We take our obligation to wildlife and to our natural environment extremely seriously. The only actions [that] put the animal in danger were those of Mr. Skage,” Reimer said.

Legal Implications

“It is against the law to pick up wild animals off the road or from out in nature, anywhere. It is illegal to be in possession of wildlife and transport wildlife,” Skage said.

Skage also says he’s willing to pay whatever fines authorities may toss his way, although he still believes he did the right thing.

Conclusion

The morality of Misty’s rescue may still be up for debate, but the legality is not. Rescuing a wild animal off the road in British Columbia is illegal.