The Unflappable Moose


I was in Maine recently doing some maintenance work on a cabin my father built in 1962. Roberta and I were about to take a dip in the lake when we had the privilege of observing a young bull moose feeding on some lily pads in about four feet of water. He was really going to town and not about to cut short his snack on our account. I stood on the dock while Roberta moseyed back to the cabin for my camera.

Thirty shots later he was still well within camera range. Moose are the largest land mammal in the northeastern part of the country and generally the only animal one might fear in Maine. Black bears dot the area as well, but the only times they might be a problem are if one is unlucky enough to get between a female and a cub or get too close to a male during mating season.

Gray wolves also inhabit that area to some extent as do coyotes and I’ve been in the presence of both on numerous occasions. Their willingness to attack humans is overrated. They are not shy about taking out pets though. Bald eagles aren’t either and I always see several every day I’m up there.

Moose are another matter. They have no natural enemies. None would stand a chance against them. They are large peaceful creatures with little fear of humans. There is a limited moose hunting season and severe penalties for poaching one, so moose seldom get shot at.

That should not keep you from maintaining your distance. Moose can have short fuses. Some idiots have learned that when throwing rocks at them or getting too close with a canoe. You can’t paddle faster than they can swim.

Take a drive in the evening on some logging roads and you might see one at close range. In summer, cows show off their maternal instincts. I’ve had them run beside my truck, keeping themselves between me and their calves. For bulky awkward-looking creatures their speed and stamina are impressive.

This one, probably a three year old, looked up at me several times, but he made no advance or retreat. He shook his three to four foot wide rack at me a few times, but that was more to fight the flies than anything else. There is no comparison seeing this majestic creature in the wild as opposed to in a zoo.

How close have I been to a moose? I’ve eaten moose meat numerous times and it is fabulous. The tenderloins are as large as the plumpest filet mignons and the outer loins as or larger than beef rib eyes. Flesh is dark and lean as is venison. Cut for cut the meat is probably tenderer.

On this day, however, my appetite was satisfied far more by watching him and offering friendly conversation. Shooting with my camera far exceeded what I could have done with my rifle, even if season was in and I possessed a valid permit.

Healthy young bull moose in velvet

young bull moose in maine

Same moose enjoying water and water lilies

Same moose in slightly deeper water

 

 

Ted Manzer teaches agriculture at Northeastern High School.

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About tedmanzer

I grew up in Old Town Maine and got a B.S. at the University of Maine in Plant Sciences/ minor in Botany. From there I moved to West Virginia and earned a M.S. in Agronomy at WVU. I also met my wife there. She grew up in rural WV as the daughter of tenant farmers who raised cattle and hogs. Their lifestyle at times was one of subsistence and I learned a lot from them. I've always been a foraging buff, but combining my formal botanical knowledge with their practical 'Foxfire-type' background opened up my eyes a little more. I now teach agriculture to high school students at Northeastern High School in Elizabeth City, NC. My wife teaches with me and we make a great team. I also write a weekly nature/foraging column for the local paper (dailyadvance.com) and frequently publish articles in several other newspapers in northeastern North Carolina. I also have written several Christian nature/adventure novels that I plan to publish eventually. One is a five book family saga I call the 'Forgotten Virtues' series. In the first book, Never Alone, a young boy comes of age after his father dies in a plane crash, and he has to make it alone. Never Alone is now available in paperback, Kindle and Nook. The second book, Strange Courage, takes Carl from his High School graduation to his recovery from a nasty divorce. The third book, Second Chances, takes Carl from his ex-wife's death and the custody of his son to his heroic death at age 59. The fourth book, Promises Kept, depicts how his grandchildren react and adjust to his death. In the final book, Grandfather's Way, his youngest and most timid granddaughter emerges from the shadow of her overachieving family and accomplishes more in four months than most do in a lifetime. I use many foraging references with a lot of the plants I profile in these articles in those books.
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16 Responses to The Unflappable Moose

  1. I have to admit, i love studying animals but i never really learned much about these creatures before. Its very intresing to read post like these and learn more about them. I would never thought they would have such agility, just another reason why to never make them mad.

  2. AjFelton says:

    generally it looks like you enjoyed your vacation mr manzer. I think that moose have no natural enemies because they cant really defend themselves. I mean they can but its not really much they can do against a predator thats has way more speed and agility than they do.

  3. cjbvans says:

    Why are they such calm animals other then when they are in a life treatening situation. Like the fact that you were able to get that many photos without the moose really caring for what you were doing.

  4. donnashawna says:

    why are these moose called unflappable. And that would have been funny if you had went in the water with that moose. what do you think the moose would of done.

  5. You would have to be stupid throw rocks or anything at a moose in the wild. Especially when you don’t know fast they are an also their bigger then you are.

  6. I would love to see one up close in person. The thrill would be insane, truly big powerful animals.

  7. kimberlypaigeweaver says:

    These are very interesting creatures. I never knew that they didnt have any natural enemies. They do seem like they would be very powerful and string creatures.

  8. tjones123 says:

    ive never seen a moose in real life. moose huntin on tv looks very fun. i would go if i could.

  9. Will the moose come to you ? Why are they so calm?

  10. amandawensel says:

    Is it possible to have a moose as a pet? it seems like it would be tame enough if you do not threaten them, but at the same time would they be a hazard in any way?

  11. Do you think that moose act differently depending on where they live?

  12. i remember the day grace told me that ya’ll saw him at camp i was so upset that i wasnt there to see him, but it made me so much more ready to go to maine with ya’ll and hope to see him. i was very upset that i didnt get to see him, but i had a great time with ya’ll at camp.

  13. They are very neat animals. But can be very aggresive when they have young so i’ve heard

  14. These animals are very cute. But its nice to know that they are very agressive. I have always wanted to go touch a moose but now I dont wnat to.

  15. sbright16 says:

    I think a moose is neat because they do unbelievable things

  16. They seem like graceful creatures and like any graceful creature most can be mean but normally aren’t. I would have loved to see a moose in the wild, up close but not too close

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