Charged By a Moose

Greetings from “Pamplona on the Pacific.”

Halfway through a second cup of coffee yesterday, I heard ice crunching in the yard. I looked up and saw a pair of moose by the windbreak.

We’d seen this pair on the hike out to pick up Michelle from the ferry the day before. The mother is a big, milk chocolate colored cow that we’ve seen near the property over the last couple of years.

If I knew what would come shortly after, I would probably have just dumped that cup of coffee right then and there. Soon enough, caffeine would be superfluous.


Mama Moose in the windbreak. I'm uphill from her, so the scale's hard to appreciate. No time to take photos later . . . . (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

I called Aly, then I went to the front door. Michelle was in the outhouse. I didn’t want her to decide to go to the garden, and walk around the corner of the cabin without knowing moose were nearby.

I grabbed a broom on the way through the porch. Staying in the doorway, I warned Michelle when she emerged. Then I stepped out and took a few blurry photos of the mother moose while I had the chance.

Then, as we always do when moose come through the yard, we debated what to do. We like to see them, but we don’t want them browsing our plants, nor can we afford to have them get comfortable around the cabin. We need to move freely without running into large, excitable, potentially dangerous animals.

We decided to run them off. I began waving the broom and shouting. Mama got the hint and trotted away, followed by the youngster (technically a calf, but larger than a pony). They went down the trail toward the guesthouse. We followed slowly after, continuing to wave and yell.

Once they were out of sight, we turned to the root cellar, debating whether to pick up a few things while we were there. Michelle glanced down the lane and said the moose were still around the guesthouse. I walked down toward them, yelling.

This time, instead of retreating, Mama came back down the trail toward us! Ears laid back, hackles raised, head down, she meant business. She even growled at us! I backed up in a hurry, still waving my broom, which suddenly seemed extremely inadequate. Then she charged.

The next moments are a bit unclear. Michelle backed up into the trees, as did I. My attention riveted on the moose’s front hooves, deadly weapons that can split a brown bear skull, or impale a hapless homesteader. She passed me, turned, and crashed through the windbreak between Michelle and me. She ran along the beach, up past the greenhouse, and around the cabin.

That felt a bit better, until we realized we stood between cow and calf. We desperately wanted to be inside, but weren’t sure we could make it. We marched back to the house, saying whatever foolish thing that came to mind in big, loud, deep voices: “We’re big! We’re mean! We’re coming down the trail! Don’t mess with us!” I don’t know if the moose heard, but we felt better.

We saw Aly at the cabin window, and asked her where the moose had gone. She pointed toward the ridge, so we yelled around the corner and slipped through the door. Hopefully, the cow met up with her calf on the trail, and they continued on up the hill.

Later in the day we hiked out to the car to haul in some goods. We didn’t see any more moose, but we sure watched for them.

Our personal Homestead Security Threat Level will remain on red for the next few weeks, at least.

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