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Adirondack Sportswoman: In Pursuit of Moose

By Melanie Houck

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Normally I like to build a little suspense but I’ll just come right out with it.  I have yet to see an actual moose while on my moose ‘hunt’…or have I? The latest and greatest moose update is here!

For the past few months, Roger and I have had two trail cameras set up, deep within the state land near our home, and recently we were able to check the cameras together.  We had set one up on a dam between two beaver flows that are a highway bridge of sorts for the deer.  We are also scouting for the deer hunting season, of course.  We eagerly swapped out memory cards but had to wait until we got back to our computer to see what was on the card. We then continued on to where camera #2 was located, near a set of three beaver flows, and this camera was just inside the woods along the shore of the third and largest flow.   We chose this spot after seeing some fresh moose sign along the edge of the second and third flow when we were last out here. Things were looking good, as the camera had shown that a few pictures were taken.

This particular flow is huge. It is lily pad heaven, and far from most human interference. That day, we got cozy with the deer flies and we watched the swamp for a while.  It was a beautiful day, and the dragon flies flitted about, ducks quacked and turtles and fish subtly made their presence known.  Our silent observation was moose-less.

Eventually we had to begin the long trek back, as this beaver flow is well over a mile back into the woods, but the picture shown here does speak for itself!  The fresh moose sign we saw pointed to not one, but three moose, as it appears we have a mamma and twin babies living in our area.  But ‘our area’ is a loose term, as moose have a huge range of territory that they live in.

Since then I have checked the camera a few times and we have gotten some deer pictures but no more moose.  I haven’t seen any fresh moose sign.  There are many swamps and beaver flows within a five-mile radius, so I am beginning to think they just might cover all that territory regularly. A neighbor told me that someone saw a baby moose a mile from our house in the other direction, right by the road.  It could very well be the same baby we got on camera, but there is no way of knowing for sure.  It’s a little funny that despite all the miles I’ve put in to see one of these beasts in the wild, I could just as easily see one on the side of the road by my house.  In fact, I know quite a few people that never look for them, yet have seen more moose in this area than I have! I plan to keep on hunting, hoping that one day I will actually see one of these goofy, beautiful creatures and capture a live image!

I try to go on a moose hunt every two weeks, with all the rest of my hikes being to observe the heron nest.   This past Monday I went in to see them probably for the last time, as the three vibrant, healthy ‘babies’ will soon fledge. They were quite entertaining to watch as they hopped about the nest, tested their wings over and over, attacked the twigs in the nest with misplaced hunting angst, and pecked at each other playfully.  I said a sad, yet grateful farewell; I have enjoyed seeing another successful family reared in my treasured, special swamp.  I’m sure I’ll see them in the lake or area swamps throughout the rest of the summer and into fall.

There is always something awesome to see in the woods of our beautiful Adirondacks!  Despite the difficultly of bush whacking in bug central, I am so grateful for the chance to get out, and never quite knowing what I might see!  I would love to hear of your own moose sightings!  Drop me a line at melanie.houck@gmail.com.

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Dan Crane says:

I have only seen a single moose in the Adirondacks. Back in 2002, I saw one at G Lake just south of Piseco Lake. It climbed away from the shoreline and approached me, with its head down, pretending to eat ferns, but with its eye fixated on me. As soon as it figured out I was not a threat, it just turned its back and walked away.

Last summer, I bushwhacked into the Oven Lake, and Cracker, Gal and West Ponds in the Five Ponds Wilderness. About half way to Oven Lake from Wolf Pond, I started seeing piles of moose scat everywhere. These moose signs continued until reaching Oven Lake, and then on to the three ponds to its north. There was even more scat along the Robinson River, which I followed back to the trail system.

There is moose in them-there mountains…..

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