Moose Mischief

By , December 8, 2011

They say a man’s home is his castle. In that case, mine’s under siege.

As I predicted, we grew tired of beating pots as we moved about the homestead to ward off moose. We stopped doing it, but we continued to move cautiously when outside, and with good reason. A couple days after the first sighting of the cow and her calf, we awoke to find the dooryard pocked with deep tracks. Worse, every remaining green in the garden had been browsed to nubbins.

Luckily, Michelle had taken advantage of the thaw to harvest the last of our leeks and onions, sometimes freezing them from the frozen soil with a mattock, so we didn’t lose much food, just the last of our kale and parsley. However, they browsed down an unprotected cherry sapling, and wiped out the hollyhocks Michelle had grown from seed her mother had given her. It could have been worse, but we weren’t happy.

moose calf

The calf tried to look innocent when caught dead to rights in the garden (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

That afternoon, as I finished my lunch, I saw a furry brown body zip past the window below me. The calf had come back to the property without her mother! She went directly to the garden and started nosing around. We didn’t want to go outside to chase her off, because there’s no telling where Mom might be, so Michelle banged a pot at the bedroom window. That chased the calf down the boathouse trail, but she soon returned. We booted up, grabbed pots, and, each watching the other’s back, snuck down to the beach to flank the calf and chase her up the hill. That worked; she disappeared up the trail.

We wondered about the mother, since the calf seemed too young to be separated from her. We found a place on our slope where they’d dislodged a boulder while climbing. The rock had rolled and smashed a 3 inch diameter tree trunk I’d stowed at the base of the cliff. If it could do that, it could snap a moose femur.

We needn’t have worried. Mom returned with baby later in the day, healthy and huge. We managed to shoo them off together.

They’d stepped over the garden fence pretty easily, so we laid old fencing pieces along its edges in a tangle. Hopefully, they won’t like stepping in it to get across the fence. There’s nothing really left for them to damage, but we don’t want them to feel at home in our garden!

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