Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6, 2012 Moose Stories

Since I live in Moose Valley, you would expect there are a lot of moose around, right!  Well....that used to be the case.  The moose have been ending up dead in this area for a while.  Many never quite make one year old.  I have a photo of me somewhere on my computer sitting by one petting it before it died the next day.  It was covered in ticks.  I had figured, given how lyme's disease can be so hard to detect in some humans....that may be one of the culprits.  And, having read some moose autopsies the last couple of years, it is part of the problem.  However, at this point they are thinking the main culprit is caused by a mosquito carried disease.  A small bug taking down a large mammal....sad!
Anyway, I used to have all kinds of excitement back in the days of plenty of moose.  Some involve Casey, my 110 # golden retriever-yellow lab mix I had when I got Toby.....who taught Toby every thing he knows....good and bad!  Some stories involved Casey and Willie, who was also 110# of seriously muscled black lab.  Nothing like a good adventure with a moose to get your blood circulating on a cold winter day.
One cold, wintery morning I was skiing along the bottom of a hill on the edge of an old hay field.  All of a sudden Casey and Willie ran to the top of the hill, only to turn around and come back down the hill right behind a moose.  That was about as close as I've ever come to being run over by a moose when skiing.  I'm not sure who had the bigger eyes-me.....or the moose.  But, we did get each others' attention.  Plus, Willie and Casey got talked to...
Another morning I was walking my boys....Willie and Casey, in the same area but a bit farther east.  There, the edge of the alder creeps closer to the hill top and I could see the bull moose standing there with his back to the woods.  You know, when you're in the middle of a field with no large trees handy.....snow fairly deep, the ski trail hard, a lot of thoughts go through your head as you wonder how to handle this agitated moose.  We ended up just walking by while he stomped; but, one never knows if luck will hold.
Still another close encounter with a very large bull moose came in the fall during the rut.  I was out "partridge" hunting with Casey.  And yes, I was actually hunting ruffed grouse; but, ever since I was a kid they've been partridge and my dog understands partridge, so, partridge they are.  I was walking down an old popple cut on what used to be a skidder trail but now was only a very narrow game trail.   All of a sudden, in front of me, 20 yards to my right, was a huge bull.  He started to grunt, shake his head and was heading toward me on the trail.  I had Casey's collar so fast!  We stood and looked at the moose standing and looking at us.  Casey never made a sound and sat very still as I'd told him - for once!  The moose made no move to go anywhere, so....this time, Casey and I turned around and went the way we'd come.  Thankfully, the moose didn't try and pursue us to see what we were up to.
I'd always wondered if some morning in the winter I'd ever end up late to work because of being turned back on a ski trail by a moose.  Some winters when the snow was very deep, we'd meet or see them on the trails; sometimes seeing their bed right on the trail.  It was much easier going than the belly deep snow.  So far, so good!
I have a few more.....but,  I will save them for another day. that I am retired, at least I won't have to worry about being late to work!   :)

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