Small Moose Picture

 Near Mooses

Close encounters of the ungulate kind, as related by contributors to the moose mailbag.

And a big warning, as will become evident in the following stories: Mooses are very, very dangerous. If you see a moose, stay far away! Remember the last words of Maureen Bootkampe, former Head Honcho of the Mickey Moose Club, while on a club-sponsored junket to Yellowstone National Park: "That moose is sitting too low in the grass for a good picture, Elbert. Poke it with that stick, why don’t...AIEEE!"
If you have a moose tale of your own you’d like to share, e-mail us at

Kathy Schalk checks in from Alaska, land of many mooses:

I have lived in Alaska nearly 28 years and have seen countless moose in our yard, in the wild and in the middle of the highway where they often come dangerously close to sending both moose and driver to the promised land. On one occasion my mother was visiting from out of state, and we were enjoying a leisurely walk in Denali Park. Suddenly bounding down the trail towards us came a wild-eyed cow moose, so we turned and took off in the opposite direction. She seemed to be staying right on our tails, and suddenly we realized that she was being being hotly pursued by a group of camera-toting tourists who cared more about getting a close-up picture than about our health and safety. We were just terrified, but fortunately the moose finally veered off into the brush leaving us breathless and exhausted and ready with a few choice words for the amateur photographers.

On another occasion, my brother from California spent three weeks with us and was very anxious to see a moose. I assured him he would see many of them but day after day passed without one sighting. We spent hours driving on all the roads where they are commonly seen, yet still, no moose. Finally came the day he was to drive back down the Alaska Hwy., so we had lunch in town and I bid him farewell. And wouldn’t you know it, as I drove back to my house, there on the side of the road (mocking me) stood a regal moose.

Jen Charney has heard the call of the wild moose:

I was surprised to hear an endearing sound a moose makes: "hmmmm!" in a "how-’bout -that?" tone, as if he were learning something new. I got about ten feet away from a foraging bull at Algonquin last May. He walked toward me as if I were a tasty sapling. I said, "whoa!" then he came to his senses and reared back a bit. I cherish the memory and will be a moose fan forevermore.

Sgt. Tim Johnson of the Idaho State Police writes from Coeur d’Alene:

I regret to inform you that on the 23rd of December, one of our patrol cars struck and killed a cow moose on U.S. Highway 95. The moose was one of three that tried to cross the highway in a snowstorm and was struck by one of our officers. The moose was vaulted into the windshield and onto the roof, causing severe damage to the patrol car. Fortunately the officer was not injured seriously (possibly some glass debris in his eyes and a cut finger), but unfortunately the young female moose did not survive. If she was any smaller, she would have joined the officer in the front of the car.

We have seen an increasing number of vehicle vs. moose crashes here in northern Idaho. One cow moose actually fell off a cliff and onto a passing car. I guess it all comes down to people moving into moose habitat. Cars and moose do not mix well. I am personally seeing moose get more aggressive as they come in contact with people. People think it is neat to see wild animals in their backyards until one charges their pet or child, then they are scared and call us (State Police) or the Fish and Game to come remove them from their yards (which was the moose’s home first). I’m sure you have heard all this before. Anyway, just to let you know.

Kasia writes from Poland:

Greetings from a moosophile from Warsaw.

Thanks a lot for the wonderful moose-page! I live in Poland, which is — as you probably know — a country where you can find lots of moose. They are mainly in the Kampinowski Park Narodowy (50 km. west from Warsaw) and near the river called Biebrza. There are some special excursions organised to watch them.

Eric Williams mails this moose missive from New Hampshire:

I was driving up the Kangamangus highway in New Hampshire, and it was very dark . There weren’t many cars around at all. As I was driving up a hill I noticed something in the road up a little ways. I thought it was a deer or something. But as I got closer I realized it was way too big for a deer. I stoped short of the moose and wasn’t sure what to do. So I went in reverse to give him some space hoping he would go into the woods.

Well, he started walking after my car. So I stopped and tried to go around him. As I was parallel with the magnificent creature he took a couple sprint steps at my car then bolted into the woods. I have never been so scared in my life. Being that close to a moose is very scary, but also just awesome at the same time. It was so scary, but also such a rush. Next time I encounter one I’d rather be farther away though.

Judy Richardson checks in from Kennesaw, Georgia:

Monday - July 31,2000

It was a beautiful afternoon in the Ashley National Park in Utah. We were riding our Harleys on our way up the Flaming Gorge to Green River, Wyoming. We were in staggered riding formation. My husband Neil was in front of me, then my friend Chris, Mike and Dave and Brenda on their bikes. There were five bikes all together and we were crusing around 50 miles per hour. The park is really beautiful and especially hard to keep your eyes on the road.

All of a sudden I look up front and Neil had slowed way down, to avoid hitting him I had to lock down my brakes! As I swerved three times, with smoke coming from my back tire, a huge moose just galloped right across the road and never looked back! I was able to keep my bike upright, Thank God and we all pulled over so I could recover and settle myself. Neil explained to me that he had seen the moose coming out of the woods and could tell by the gait that it wasn’t going to stop for the road or u,s and he didn’t have time to let us know. Nobody else saw it coming.

We believe it was a female because there were no antlers. All I remember is that she or he was one of the biggest animals I have ever seen in the wild. From now on when I ride anywhere near woods I am continually watching for any kind of critters! We live in Georgia and don’t know if we have any moose, but I’ll be watching!

P.S. I now have a Moose patch sewn on my demin jacket as a reminder of that Moose.

Marcia Mitchell has a question from New York:

I live in the Adirondack Mountains of northern New York and was hiking up one of our smaller hills the other day where a moose had been previously sighted just a few weeks ago. We had gone up the hill about two miles and turned to come back down. The hike up had seriously quieted the nine-year-old who was with me, and after about a half mile of the downward trip he spoke to me.

At that instant a sound from the woods froze us both in our tracks. It was loud! The noise is not one I can describe The little one with me said it sounded like a bunch of boxes falling down. We didn’t stop to check the source, just proceded down the trail watching behind us till we got to the trail head. Hoping you can help, we’ve been doing a search trying to find what kind of sound a startled moose might make.

Thanks for any info you can provide.

Jim writes from Edmonton, Alberta:

I am a bus driver employed by the City of Edmonton. I came across your wonderful website while researching a question a friend and I had about moose.

Edmonton is a large modern city in Northern Alberta, Canada. If the bedroom communities surrounding the city are factored into the equation, we easily have a population of over a million people.

The North Saskatchewan river cuts through the middle of the city and provides us with a vast greenbelt. Fort Edmonton Park is situated there, along with the Valley Zoo and literally hundreds of miles of biking and hiking trails. There are places along the trails where it is impossible to tell that the Whitemud Freeway or a major suburb is only a matter of few hundred yards away. I have seen many coyotes, porcupines, and beaver while walking my dog along the hiking trails, but I was completely unprepared for what I saw one night in January of 1998.

It was about 5:30 on a cold, clear winter afternoon. I was on the last circuit of my route in a district known as Riverbend. It was getting dark already, and my bus was empty, the last of my passengers having gotten off a couple of stops back.

I came around a bend in the street and saw a large animal I first took to be a horse standing on the lawn in front of a house. As I said, it was dusk, and getting hard to see. When my bus drew nearer to the "horse", it lifted its rather large head at the sound of my motor and looked in my direction. I was astonished to see that it wasn’t a horse at all, but a moose!

I began to shout, "Look at this! A moose!" I turned around in my seat to tell someone, anyone, my great news. I my excitement I had forgotten my bus was empty. All the way back to the garage I rehearsed what I was going to tell the other operators.

I didn’t quite get the reaction I had bargained for.

"You saw a moose!.... In Riverbend..... Standin’ in some guy’s lawn?" the other guys laughed. "Sure ya did. Ha, ha, ha, that’s a good one!"

"I did! Honest!" I insisted, holding my arms wide to illustrate. "Antlers like this. Big nose. Ears too, hooves, long legs, and..."

"Jim, yer a riot," they said. "Tell ya what. You see a pink elephant, you better book off a couple of days! Ha, ha, ha!"

I didn’t say to much about my sighting for while after that. To tell the truth, I was beginning to think I might have imagined it. Then, in my darkest hour, I was exonerated.

Residents in Riverbend complained to the City about their visitor. Unique as he was in the city, he wasn’t doing the lawns and shrubbery any good at all. Soon the papers and the local television news went out to investigate. They got pictures of the moose pawing the snow away from someone’s lawn and nibbling on a mountain ash tree.

The wildlife officers were of the opinion that the moose wandered into the city via the river valley. Then he naturally hiked up the hill and entered the residential neighborhood through the yards backing onto the park land surrounding the river.

Seeing the moose made my day, even if nobody believed me at the time. Still, I often wonder what he told the other moose about his city vacation when he got home.

Sheri Nievaard writes:

Last summer a friend and I were hiking in one of the canyons near our homes in Salt Lake City, Utah. We were pretty tired and decided to make it to one more hump in the trail so we could see what was beyond that before turning back. Right as we got to that hump in the trail I stopped, threw my arm back to stop her, and stood there about 15 feet from a beautiful momma moose, who was herself standing there on the trail, then turned and trotted off.

Just a few weekends ago, my boyfriend and I were hiking the same trail, and this time I made sure to bring a camera, just in case. We started along the trail — until the "baby" moose was standing there right in front of us, that is. He had a beautiful developing rack, and I pulled out my camera as he wandered off the trail into the aspens and brush to eat.

After taking some more pictures of him, I put down my camera, and my peripheral vision caught another moose — momma moose — to the left of the other. It was startling, but we stood still and watched them calmly until they walked further into the brush. We followed.

They then joined a big bull moose with a nice velvety rack and continued their afternoon snacking. We ended up watching the little family for almost two hours before finally making our way back to the trail and going back home with an extreme adrenaline rush.

The amazing (and lucky) thing was that we got really pretty close to them without incident and got to see them in their natural surroundings. I used up tons of film, but I won’t need the pictures to remember that afternoon any time soon.

Edward Nilges writes:

I was hiking in Idaho’s Harriman State Park two weeks ago when I heard a crash in the underbrush. A large (7' high measured at the back, 6' antler span, as best as I can remember) moose emerged and ran some distance away, then turned and regarded me with a jaundiced eye.

Discretion is the better part of valor, so I executed a smart about-face and hiked back to the access road. Moose are stick-in-the-muds, so I was not anxious about meeting Bullwinkle again.

Truly a life-changing experience, for this was literally the first time I’d ever encountered a wild animal, in the wild.

I hate zoos. We Germans invented the modern zoo: think about that. I hate the idea of an animal being cooped up and imprisoned like an office worker in his cubicle. At the same time, the gaze of the moose was not particularly chummy, for the moose regarded the marshy region pretty much as his turf. And if I’d gone antlers-to-antlers with Bullwinkle, guess who’d win. Floridans wrassle gators, but even native Idahoans, who are crazy, do not wrassle moose. Antlers and sheer mass, in the case of the moose, beat human agility and overall lack of principle.

Right after my encounter, I was rattled. This was from deeply buried circuits and I view the rolling country about Harriman differently as something not there for my pleasure but equally for the delight of the moose.

I can well imagine the old capitalist, Harriman, chuckling to himself: for this former ranch is not some safe forest preserve for the hoi polloi, and their numerous children. No, it has been stocked with wild things using the charming 19th century idea that only rich men are fit to encounter animals in the wild, and that mere proletarians will flee these encounters. But unarmed, a rich man is the same as the prole when it comes to a massive set of antlers.

Now what I have to do is figure out how to run in Harriman State Park, and elsewhere, without startling moose and other large creatures. I was ambling along and yet the moose was disturbed. If I go charging in to the territory of some monster said monster may be even more disturbed. A favorite sport of Idahoans is watching bears chase joggers, and holding up signs saying "go bears."

I plan to learn what I can about the ways of these beasts. While it is important not to go lala and romanticize them, I do believe that these animals sense one’s mental state and will be cool if they sense no threat.

Idaho is an unknown national treasure which needs to stay just the way it is. As California becomes a shopping mall, we are becoming glutted with a world designed for the satisfaction of our desires, and no longer confront a gaze that says, yo, this is my meadow even though I neither sow, nor reap, nor have a credit card. I am only temporarily up here, and I hope I have trod lightly.

Gordon sends an apocryphal tale from Great Britain:

Last week I went out a-moose huntin’ with my good friend Mr. Graham Mule. We found ourselves a good moose, ripe for the kill, strong legs and the finest antlers it has ever been my pleasure to peruse. We wooed the moose over using a combination of moose-like grunts and Golden Grahams. Then his slow, moose-like amble turned into a fast, moose-like run, and his eyes, why I swear they were a-glowin’.

We ran for the only cover we could spy, an old oak tree. I climbed up first, being the most able climber after a stint in the junior boy scouts. Mr. Graham Mule passed up the ’moossenator’ (our reliable blunderbuss), sweat dripping from his hideously overproportioned jowls. He then began to climb up, but, sweet mother of Jesus, he slipped! And the moose was fast a-gaining, and emitting ever more threatening moose-like noises. Why, a more moose-like noise I have never heard But it was to be expected, as he was an incredibly moose-like moose.

And just as the moose was but five moose-steps away, I managed to pull Graham up into the safety of the old oak tree. We were sitting in that there oak tree for at least a week. It was hell. We were forced to eat our shoes and drink the sweat wrung from our pants at half-hourly intervals.

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