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Two elk pulled from Bull Lake ice

| March 23, 2004 11:00 PM

Two of seven elk that fell through the ice into Bull Lake near Angel Island on Sunday were rescued through the efforts of a state game warden, a Forest Service law enforcement officer and three private citizens.

The elk fell through the ice around 10:45 a.m. about 150 yards from shore.

Game warden Jon Obst was in Troy with a boat that he had been planning to take onto the river when he responded to the call along with Forest Service officer Dave Helmrick. When they reached the scene, Garry Hoadley, Jay Richey and Jim Pierce were in a small boat trying to break through the ice to get to the elk.

Obst put his boat into the lake but found the ice too thick to allow him to get closer than about 60 yards from the elk.

³You couldn¹t chunk it out to get to them,² he said.

Donning protective gear and using training picked up from David Thompson Search and Rescue, Obst went out onto the ice secured by a tether. He was able to get ropes around a spike bull, a cow and a calf, which were then pulled onto the ice.

Only the spike showed much life by the time it was retrieved from the water. The elk was dragged across the ice to shore, where it rested for several hours before gaining the strength to rise, eat some food and finally walk away.

After the spike was dragged to shore, the rescuers were able to use the boat to break through to the one cow still alive in the water. She swam through the newly created channel to the shore and like the spike is believed to have survived.

³It was quite a thing to watch,² said Barb Hoadley, who lives nearby. ³They (the elk) were in there for hours.²