Our stand off with moose continues, and intensifies as I write this (see A Month of Moose).
Yesterday, we hiked out to the car to get a few things, while walking Michelle out for work. Aly and I returned to the homestead, and found fresh tracks going down into the compound ahead of us. We looked around, and quickly found Mama Moose browsing below the veranda. We went around her to the beach and chased her away, but she returned shortly after that. We drove her off again, but she returned after dark (and after Michelle got home, thankfully) and apparently spent the night next to the cherry tree.
She left early, returned a bit later, and hung around this morning. We ran her off again.
We’re getting desperate, but we also have an idea . . . .
Sunday morning, Michelle and I chased the cow and calf up past our winter water tank. We yelled ourselves hoarse, then started howling at them, which seemed to have a little better effect. Then, yesterday, on our way out, we found a pair of trackways crossing the trail which were apparently coyote.
A neighbor hiked the trail circuit; Michelle and I met her earlier while we worked on dropping a tree, then Aly and I met her again on the beach coming back from the cars. I asked if she’d seen any coyote tracks. She said she hadn’t, but her husband had heard howling the night before. Minutes after we continued our journey, we heard howling, too!
We assume it was the huskies that live with friends farther up the road. It sounded more like dogs than wolves or coyotes, at any rate. But, the seed had been planted.
We’ve been playing Van Halen at high volume, but we really have to blast it to be heard outside, and it doesn’t help our nerves much (even as an ex-disk-jockey, my tolerance for loud music has definitely diminished!). Thinking of howling, I suddenly remembered that I have a Northsound disc, Wolf Talk (paid link), an hour of recorded wolf howls, and little else!
I’m planning to edit the loudest parts of the disc into a track we can all carry on our iPods and play when moose are around. We’re considering setting up some battery-powered speakers and running a loop in the outhouse. I’m naming the track AAAWolf so that it’s always the first track in an alphabetical list, easy to find in a hurry and under stress!
And, the stress is getting to us. Michelle describes it as staving off a zombie attack: it’s episodic, there’s a jump factor, an enigmatic, unknowable adversary, and lots of adrenaline. At least, she says, the moose don’t want to eat us. Aly chimed in, “Yeah, they could be predatory.” They both then knocked on the wooden table . . . .
As the primary moose chaser, I might even be the worst effected by stress. When I went out to take photos for this blog, a small flock of tiny ducks surfaced on the water. Not a loud noise, by any means, but I nearly jumped out of my skin!
We’re particularly worried because we haven’t seen the calf for about two days. We assume the mother has driven her off. The instinct to do that is likely there whether a new calf is on the way or not, but we’re increasingly worried that the cow might be pregnant. If she’s comfortable enough to drop a calf here, we’ll really be under siege. Of course, if she has a brand new calf, our AAAWolf might give her more incentive to leave the property!