Three new members of the ‘Munching Moose Tree and Hedge Maintenance Service’ arrived on our property in early October. Mavis Moose and her two calves, Morgan and Montana, worked primarily in the NE section of our woods. They also rested on (and fertilized) the grassy area that covers our septic field.
This calf is demonstrating extreme resting. Morgan (or maybe it was Montana) slumbered in the full side sleeping position for almost an hour. I’d never seen a moose stretch out like that before… for a while I was afraid it had died!
(More Moose Photos: Mike Jackson’s Resting Moose Collection of Photos.)
I know that wild life researchers avoid getting so close to animals that they affect eating habits and natural behavior. We have the opposite situation here – the moose don’t hesitate to get close to our ‘habitat’, thus affecting our behavior. In the photo above, they crossed our driveway, then bedded down about 30 ft (9 m) away from our front door.
The fourth new member of the ‘Munching Moose’ crew was Malcolm. Though Malcolm did do some munching, he was here for only one day. Apparently he achieved his objective with the female moose, then moved on to sow his wild oats in another ‘part of town’.
A rare portrait of Malcolm, Morgan and Montana (I cropped Mavis out of the photo because she was in the deep shade – but she was staying very close to her calves.)
A few days later, there was a grand Munching Moose Picnic in our west woods. Mothers Martha and Mavis spent a few hours munching and resting while the calves, Morley, Morgan and Montana frolicked about – dare I say Moose-capades!
I was watching all the activity from a location about 100 ft (30 m) away. Suddenly, one of the calves ran directly towards me. It abruptly stopped when it was about 30 ft (9 m) away from me (and the large grey thing with round rubber feet). Then, just as quickly, it ran away.
In another blink of an eye, the mother moose had arrived to check on her calf. She too came to a full stop in the same spot as the calf had been, then turned and casually walked away. This isn’t the first time we’ve observed that these moose are comfortable being near human structures but actively avoid close contact with people.
That’s not to say all moose populations are like that (or that these moose would react the same way every time). However, these moose do live in a semi-rural area that has far more people than there are moose – an area where the trade off for having food and safe places to bed down is frequent encounters with human beings. So far, so good.