From the sublime to the tragicomic, here are two stories about how large animals and ice frequently do not mix.
First, from Spiegel, a story about firefighters trying to rescue a deer trapped in the ice of a lake. All efforts failed, and with daylight running out, the firefighters made the decision to have a local hunter put the deer out of its misery. But the hunter refused to take the shot for fear of hitting someone on the opposite shore.
That’s when the deer’s guardian angel appeared in the form of a passing police helicopter that happened to be in the area. “Its pilot had been listening to the police frequency and heard what was going on,” the spokesman said. “He offered to help and had the idea of tilting the helicopter to create a strong downdraft. That literally blew the deer off the lake.”
Once the animal had hit the shore, it got up and skipped off into the forest, apparently unhurt.
Things did not turn out so well earlier this year for a group of cattle in Colorado’s Gunnison National Forest, which wandered too far from the herd and were caught by snowfall. Half a dozen of them took shelter in an old ranger cabin, where they froze solid, and were later discovered by a pair of Air Force Academy cadets who snowshoed into the area (and were no doubt dismayed to find that their shelter was full of cow popsicles).
From the Seattle Times:
U.S. Forest Service spokesman Steve Segin said Tuesday they need to decide quickly how to get rid of the carcasses.
“Obviously, time is of the essence because we don’t want them defrosting,” Segin said.
Segin said officials are concerned about water contamination in the nearby hot springs if the cows start decomposing during the thaw.
The options: use explosives to break up the cows, burn down the cabin, or using a helicopters or trucks to haul out the carcasses.
The news that the Forest Service might blow up a bunch of frozen cows made for a lot of internet punchlines (my favorite: “And that is how they make ice cream”), but in the end, officials opted for chainsaws.
On Thursday, three rangers and three ranchers headed up a mountain near Aspen, Colo. to carve up six cattle found frozen in a cabin before the carcasses thawed and contaminated a popular hot springs nearby.
Bill Kight of the U.S. Forest Service said the group planned to cut up the remains and scatter them over a wide area in an effort to draw bears and mountain lions away.
“It would be like predators having a buffet,” Kight said.
Hikers were warned to stay off the trails for a month.