I am touring Yellowstone this week with my wife’s family. Last night driving back to West Yellowstone the topic turned to moose, which inspired the following stories.
The only critter that approaches the ferocity of a momma grizzly is a momma moose.
So one day I was fishing a stream in the Bighorn Mountains and had maneuvered myself onto a precarious position on top of a pile of sticks and logs. As I’m balancing and fishing, down stream at the bend, about thirty to forty yards, I see a baby moose stick it’s nose out of the willow. That was a real “uh oh” moment because I realized that mommy had somewhere close and I wasn’t going to be able to get back to the bank very fast. Right then mommy moose emerged out of the willows and gave me a look. Fortunately she backed away with baby, and I climbed off the pile of drift and back to my truck. I was done fishing that day.
Another summer Virginia and I took some 6th graders camping in the park. We took this great two mile hike into a gorgeous little lake. Coming out of the timber we had a clear view of the lake. There were a pair buffalo lying down on either side of the trail, and we could a couple of bull elk resting by the lake. As we hiked down to the lake we took a detour into the meadow to get around the buffalo, the kids were getting a little tense about the buffalo. So as we were out in the meadow and I tried to assure the girls, “no worries, we’re going to give them plenty of room”, one of the kids gasped in terror, “A MOOSE”! Sure enough right behind us 75 yards a way was a young bull moose walking out of the timber, and it looked like we were between him and dinner down at the lake. I had everyone kneel down and be quiet and let the moose go his way. Sure enough he meandered right by us. As soon as the kids realized that he wasn’t going to smash then into 6th grader jelly, it instantly became the coolest thing in the world.
I knew people in Montana that lived way back in the boonies, on a road that was a real piece of work even by Montana standards. It was a little spooky even in the summer, but in winter it was a real challenge. They had to keep it all plowed out, so by late winter there walls of snow on both sides of the road. So one Sunday morning on their way to church (45 minutes away) a big bull moose was coming down the road right at them. There wasn’t enough room for them to turn around, and the snow was too high for the moose to get off the road. They threw the Jeep Cherokee into reverse, and drove backwards as fast as they could, but the moose stayed right in front of the hood, with fire in his eyes. Things got a little snakey, and the moose ended up through the windshield and in the front seat. Fortunately, the moose extricated it’s self, and bounded over the snow bank and made his escape. Needless to say, they didn’t get to church that Sunday.