In certain battles, no one comes out as the winner.
That is definitely true for these two bull moose in Wyoming, who took the cliché of “fight to the death” to its most literal sense. The pair of males were found deceased in Fish Creek near Wilson, Wyoming back in early October.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department was notified when the two moose were found on someone’s private property, and they removed the two bodies and determined that drowning was, in fact, the cause of death for the two antlered animals.
In the picture, you can see that the water the two moose drowned in was not that deep, and only comes up just below the knees of the person who was investigating the scene. It is assumed that the two bull moose were fighting over territory, or a potential partner, when their antlers became fatally intertwined.
Officials believe that the moose either became exhausted and fell down into the water, or the fight brought them both down into the creek, and with their antlers locked, neither could gain leverage, which led both of them to drown.
Mark Gocke, the spokesman for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, voiced that two male moose fighting is common, but having their antlers become locked up like these two is actually very uncommon. He told the Jackson Hole News and Guide:
“It’s pretty rare. Maybe five years ago we had a similar incident. It’s kind of heartbreaking to see two healthy, mature bull moose, doing what they do during the fall rut and battling, end up dying in a creek.”
A landowner in the area helped with the removal of the two deceased moose by offering up a skid steer. Even with the helpful equipment, it took the Wyoming Game and Fish Department almost two hours to remove the two moose.
Bull moose can weigh over 1,000 pounds when fully grown, and these particular animals being waterlogged certainly didn’t help in the efforts to get them out of the shallow creek. It was reported that the two moose’s antlers remained stuck together even when they were being pulled out.
Gocke told the Cowboy State Daily:
“Even when pulling those suckers with the skid steer, they were locked together until one of their antler tines broke, and that freed them up.”
Though there’s no video of the incident that led these two moose to meet their maker, one can assume that it probably went down similar to how most moose battles play out: