A View from the Other Side

By , June 16, 2018

We got a text that morning from Aly, after she’d reached town for work:

“Doggone pain-in-the-butt moose tried to stop me crossing the bay this a.m. It’s on our side of the bay now. Be careful!”

Forewarned, Michelle and I hiked to the bay, she to go to work, me to collect lumber and cat litter I’d staged at the trail head the afternoon before.

Moose on the beach

Aly’s view of the moose from her hiding place behind a beach rock (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger).

When we arrived at the bay, Michelle spotted the moose, a large cow, loitering on a grassy section of beach down bay from our trail. As we stood watching, it looked up and saw us. It started coming toward us, grunting softly.

Unusual behavior for a cow moose, particularly at this time of year.

Michelle moved slowly off across the bay. I went back into the forest to collect my load, listening to the moose grunting on the beach. I hiked home with eyes wide open, watching for the moose in case it happened to follow me, or bisect my trail.

When Aly got home that evening, we compared notes. The moose had approached her as well, grunting softly. Aly detoured up into the bay trying to get around the moose, spent a little time hiding behind a rock near the creek, and finally made a clear path to the road side and her car.

Moose cow

Another cell phone shot, detail (Photo: Sarah A. Zeiger).

We puzzled over the two encounters, until Aly mentioned that when she went farther up the bay, she noticed moose tracks—adult and small calf—and bear tracks.

Then, the light dawned. We may have just experienced the other side of the “orphaned” calf experiences described in Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw. A bear likely killed the moose’s young calf. Afterward, she wandered the bay in confusion, approaching anything moving in the forlorn hope that it might be her missing calf.

As before, we could be completely wrong about this, but it seemed a likely explanation. If true, it provided us a view from the other side of the cow and calf equation. Separating an animal from its young can be as traumatic for the adult as for the child.

If you’re curious about the camera angles, so am I, and Aly’s not here to ask. Even though she’d gotten past the moose at the point she took the photos, I think she hid behind the rock to “ditch” the moose, which continued to move toward her. She also wanted to document the encounter, as she probably figured I’d ask her later for photos to post on the blog . . . .

2 Responses to “A View from the Other Side”

  1. Linn Hartman says:

    Interesting – Not your everyday trip to work

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    You said it, my friend!

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