Alberta cattle rancher Brad Osadczuk experienced the most bizarre moment of his career when he found his missing newborn calf in a badger hole Friday night.
The animal was missing for a day, and when the hours dragged on without a sign of him on the large native prairie pastures of Jenner, Alta., Osadczuk grew concerned.
He spent an hour driving around his 640-acre ranch, looking through every clump of grass for the calf.
At around 8 p.m., Osadczuk stumbled across him with his mother nearby.
“I knew from experience that he wouldn’t leave that area and she was trying to tell us something,” the 47-year-old rancher said Saturday.
“She kept on going back to this spot. When you walk up, you couldn’t see anything. It just was prairie grass. I happened to walk up to a badger hole and I look down, and about 12 inches down into the hole, I could see his nose down there,” Osadczuk added.
“So I kind of had to dig around to get ahold of his front legs and I pulled him out of there. He was quite stuck. He wiggled and screamed enough until he kind of worked himself as far down as he possibly could into this big badger hole.”
The calf was wedged in so tightly that Osadczuk thought something more sinister was at play.
“I was wondering how he got so far down there and if something was trying to drag him down there, whether it was a coyote or a badger or something,” he said.
Osadczuk said the animal is doing well, just exhausted after being stuck in the hole for 12 to 20 hours.
“After I got him out, [the calf’s mom] came right up and was taking care of him,” he said.
Osadczuk called it the weirdest thing he’s ever come across in his lifelong career.
“We were quite amazed in all the years that we’ve been ranching, and friends and family have been ranching, no one’s ever seen anything quite that crazy,” he said.