Moose Mobilization

By , February 18, 2012

The moose are on the move.

It’s common, in winter, to hear of increased moose encounters in Alaska’s interior. Heavy snows make the moose seek browse along easier paths: plowed roads, shoveled suburban driveways, rail beds, all of which bring them into closer contact with humans and their vehicles.

The snow is still pretty heavy up around Haines, but here on our peninsula, we see large expanses of bare forest floor during our recent thaw. Still, we’re suddenly seeing an increase in moose activity.

moose in the garden again

Through the woods darkly . . . a moose browses next to the green house (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

A few days ago, Michelle went to town on an errand. On both the hike out and the return home she encountered a cow moose and her calf on our trail. Both times she detoured cross country to avoid them.

The next day we hiked south of the homestead, passing through “the swamp.” We spotted three moose there, a cow and calf, and a short time later, a calf on its own. I’m pretty sure the cow is the one that charged us last year. Her light chocolate brown face has become familiar to us over the years. They watched us as we passed, then lazily walked deeper into the forest.

That night we heard on the local news that a young man had collided with a moose on the Haines Highway. The moose had jumped off a 10-foot cliff at the road edge into the path of his truck. Moose are dropping from the sky—it hardly seems fair or right. The moose flipped over the truck’s cab and ended up in the cargo bed. Seems like he should have been able to keep it since it stowed itself so nicely, but I suppose it was a moot point, as the collision totaled his truck.

The next morning, we found an adult cow at the edge of our garden, polishing off the currant bushes other moose had already browsed to nubbins. After taking a few lousy photos out the bedroom window, I bellowed at her in my best “quarterdeck voice.” Eventually, it made her nervous enough to leave the homestead in peace . . . for now.

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