I’ve only been a Master Naturalist for a few weeks and already I’ve been run off the job!
Fellow naturalist Shawn McCready and I spent a Saturday pulling staples from an old barb wire fence in the Larch Natural area. My plan was to return early Sunday morning and start rolling up the wire. Well I can assure you that the best laid plans of moose and men gang aft a gley.
Sunday morning was glorious. The birds were singing and I watched a white tail dear bounding down the slope as I walked towards my work area. When I was about 10 meters from my intended starting point I heard a great crashing in the bush. I was excited because it sounded like a moose to me and I was hoping to get a look at it. Well, be careful what you wish for.
I clambered down a bit of a slope to reach my starting point and sure enough I could make out a cow moose about 15 meters away in the heavy bush. Holding my tool belt, pliers and phone in my left hand I took a picture. It was a terrible picture. You could hardly make out the moose. Maybe I could get a little closer and get a better picture before she bolts on me.
To my surprise the moose did not bolt. No. She charged me instead. I beat a hasty retreat up the slope I had just descended. When I turned to look at her she was standing right over my tool belt and pliers that I had dropped in my retreat.
Well I had work to do. I yelled at her and made a commotion, but she ignored my yelling and stood her ground. Every time I started to approach she threatened me. I assumed she had a calf nearby which would account for her aggressiveness.
I resorted to plan “B” which was to go for a walk and give her time to move on. I returned about an hour later. Peering through the thick bush I could see my tool belt and pliers but no moose. It felt like I was being watched however. I thought I just had myself spooked as she had already put the run on me. I was going to head down the slope to my tools but then I looked behind me. There she was on the opposite side of the path starring right at me about 5 meters away.
I decided the barb wire and my tools were not going anywhere. I on the other hand departed post haste!
My advice to fellow Master Naturalists is: If you encounter an aggressive moose, the best steps to take are BIG ONES!
By Paul F. Gregg – EALT Volunteer & Master Naturalist