The Roundup -

Moose on the Loose


March 14, 2018 | View PDF

We do have a few moose here in the Virginia City area. We don’t have herds of these largest members of the deer family, like we do elk or deer, but these majestic creatures do roam the countryside. My friends in Alder see them frequently throughout the winter, as these herbivores enjoy browsing through the willows along the creek. Both my friends enjoy watching these animals and they have a few pictures of their moose neighbors munching contentedly on branches and twigs just outside the front door.

Two seasons ago, a young moose routinely romped through Virginia City and spent a lot of time by the pond. This fall a cow moose and her calf helped themselves to the salt block a local man had set out in his pasture just outside of town for his horses.

This winter I had the good fortune to spot a cow moose on three separate occasions as I hiked up Cornucopia Road. The first time I met this elegant creature, I rounded a curve and there she stood in the middle of the road. I am not sure who startled whom more, but after both of us had leaped several feet in the air, we warily eyed the other carefully. The four-legged animal decided the two-legged human looked old and harmless, so the four-legged animal strolled nonchalantly away into the trees and began munching on pine branches, ignoring me completely.

I saw this same animal about a month later. She stood on a hillside surveying her domain and barely gave me a second glance. Then right before Christmas I spotted her again, this time standing at the very top of Cornucopia. She stared at me awhile, then turned and sauntered away. Even my hysterically barking dog failed to distress her in the slightest. I suppose she figured she weighed ten times more than both me and my dog combined, she obviously could run a lot faster than either of us, she could beat us hands down in a wrestling match, so she had no worries about two such puny creatures trespassing on her territory.

I had no moose sightings for a good month. Then last week my husband looked out the shop window in the middle of the day to see a huge bull moose loitering by our clothesline. This fellow stood tall, wore a monster set of full paddles on his head and sported a beard at least a foot and a half long. Stunned and awed, my husband reached for his camera. He crept to the back of the shop, exited the door, took aim, and depressed the shutter. Nothing happened. Chagrined, he realized the batteries in the camera had died. He hastened back to the shop to rectify this situation, working as quickly and quietly as he could. While he fumbled with the camera, our dog Ruby suddenly realized we had a trespasser. She tore out of the shop at a dead run and took off after this huge intruder in her yard. Instead of trampling her carelessly underfoot, the moose took off on a dead run and vacated the premises.

My husband figured we’d never see hide nor hair of the big guy again. I was crestfallen that I had missed this opportunity to see one of our neighborhood creatures. I agreed with him that the moose would not be back any time soon.

Fortunately, we were both wrong. That night I got up about midnight to toss a few more logs in the wood stove. We have a motion sensor light on the side of the shop, and the light suddenly flared on. I peeked out the window but at first didn’t see anything. I thought I saw some movement on the ground, so I focused downwards, looking for a fox or rabbit. I saw nothing, but I sensed that something stood outside by the shop. I let my eyes travel upwards from the ground, and there stood that enormous bull moose. He stood perfectly motionless. The light from the sensor illuminated his antlers, head, and ears, and the ridge of his back. The remainder of the animal blended into the blackness of the shop behind him. He stood so still and quiet that I could have convinced myself I was dreaming, but of course I was not.

I hissed for my husband to come look. Rod scrambled out of bed and peered out the kitchen window. After exclaiming in pleasure that the big fellow had paid us a return visit, he asked, “Where is your camera?”

Of course, I keep it in my little office building, so I did not have it at hand. My husband’s camera sat in the shop. We have good cameras that will take pictures in all sorts of lighting, but where are they when we want them? Neither of us have cameras in our phones that take any picture worth having. So, two times a sighting, and two times no decent camera anywhere within reach.

About that time, the sensor light flicked off. We could still see the faint silhouette of our visitor as he remained still, deciding on his next course of action. I almost felt as though I stared at a spirit animal who stood waiting outside my window until he was certain that I noticed him.

The moose moved. The light flicked on again as we watched the animal head around the side of the shop and disappear into the dark of the night.

We haven’t seen him since. I keep watching and hoping, but our elusive neighbor has yet to make a reappearance.


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2021