Headed to the outhouse a week ago and whom do I encounter just on the other side of the cabin door but Dolly, our resident (wild) mama Moose. Note the JD 2032R in the background.
Moose this close can be dangerous, but Dolly and I go way back. It was a bit strange though, that her youngsters (calves of the year) were nowhere in sight.
I gave Dolly a few minutes to move on, but I had to move on too, if you catch my drift, and couldnít wait any longer. I opened the door, which was stimulus enough for her to back off to the other side of the tractor. I took off at a trot, but low and behold, who was waiting to greet me but the youngsters, Slip and Fall.
While moose are pretty chill most of the time, the situation you donít want is to get between mama and youngsters. And that was right where I was. To get into the OH I needed to shoo the youngsters away. Mom might interpret this as a threat towards her brood, and come up from behind in a riled mood.
But I had no choice, I needed the OH bad. And I should add that the OH has no front door (open to the world), so it offered scant protection. So I hissed at the young ní s a bit and waved my arms in front of me, where I hoped Mom couldnít see. The calves did what calves should do, startle off into the woods. Better yet, Mom was oblivious, browsing on a willow shoot.
I scooted into the OH, completed my transaction and a few minutes later, headed back for the cabin. I rounded the corner and who was right there- like right there- but Dolly. We were face to face again, but this time with no glass door separating us, and I was close enough to smell her breath She was really a handsome, healthy cow moose, doing her share to keep the species going. We made eye contact for several seconds (which felt like several minutes). I felt my safest move was to remain stock still. She sniffed around a bit, and then lumbered off to hang with the family. I am glad she took off, cause I was dressed for a quick trip to the OH, not for a wildlife viewing session. We now keep an extra work coat and a pair of spare Sorels in the OH, just in case.
Yesterday, while I was tractoring, I saw Dolly and only one of her calves (Slip) at the end of the driveway, eating the tops off some birch branches from a tree I had brought down earlier that day. Thats my girl. She had a limp though, and her smaller calf (Fall) was no where to be seen.
This has been the earliest spring breakup in my memory, and even though its early by the calendar, its not hard to imagine bears emerging from their dens, real hungry for protein after a long dormancy. If the smaller calf was already weakened in any way, it could have fallen prey to a protein-hungry bear. Dolly would have certainly intervened, but even an angry adult moose is not really a match for a hungry bear. Fortunately, no one around us has reported happening on a fresh moose kill.
We are hoping for the best.
Addendum: As I am writing this I felt/heard a small earthquake, just enough to rattle my scotch bottles a little bit. Since we had the 7.2 magnitude earthquake at the end of Nov., we get several aftershocks a day. Fortunately, they are getting weaker and weaker.