There’s not much that can stop a football team, let alone two of them, but a roaming moose nearly delayed kickoff for the sold-out Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg on Saturday.
Winnipeg Police Const. Rob Carver says the calf was tranquilized outside Investors Group Field shortly before the game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders was scheduled to begin.
Carver says police had to block off routes to the stadium to keep fans from getting in the way as conservation staff attempted to corner and subdue the animal.
He says officials with the Blue Bombers were calling police wondering if they would have to delay the game.
Joe Johannesson, the conservation officer supervisor for the Winnipeg district, estimates the male moose was between two and three years old.
The province says the moose is on its way to a remote location outside the city.
“It wasn’t a full adult, but it was still a very large animal,” Johannesson said on Saturday afternoon.
“We loaded him into a trailer and he is on his way to a nice, safe place.”
The team tweeted requests for fans to be patient, and careful, while routes to the field were blocked.
Carver said police also used social media to try to inform fans why their path to the game was temporarily closed.
Johannesson said conservation officers began tracking the young moose Friday morning when it was spotted behind a school in the city’s Fort Garry neighbourhood.
It went through some backyards and eluded capture, Johannesson said. It was spotted again Friday evening, but it got away by jumping into the Red River and swimming to the other side.
The moose appeared again early Saturday morning south of the University of Manitoba campus where Investors Group Field is located, and later that morning it was in a field a couple of hundred metres from the stadium.
Johannesson said the moose lay down for quite some time, but then got up and started to move.
By that point, a conservation officer that was trained to tranquilize animals had arrived, and the chase was finally over.
Johannesson said it’s rare for moose to come into the city, but there are natural corridors that make it possible.
“They follow major waterways and he was on the Red River, so he could have come from any direction,” he said.