The joke is that moose don’t have horns, they have antlers. The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge excuses itself by noting that it’s named after a brook that meanders through the preserve. Not that it’s the only fine body of water.
And the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adds that the preserve is home to much more than moose, bear, beaver, and deer. For example, some 223 bird species have been identified in its two divisions – the 31-square-mile Baring Division to our northwest and the 13-square-mile Edmunds Division to our west, both within a half-hour drive from Eastport.
The terrain is varied, much of it wetlands, and a third is protected as wilderness.
I especially appreciate the miles of hiking trails, some along former roads.
What I wasn’t expecting on one outing was the moose I encountered on a grassy roadside near a flowage.
When I first spotted the tawny hump amid the green, I thought it might have been one bent over grazing, in which case I’d need to approach cautiously, or else just a big rock.
Instead, it became a mystery.
Tire tracks in the grass had me wondering if a ranger driving down the gated-access lane had tried to veer away from the animal on the roadway, only to have it bolt into the oncoming vehicle.
The carcass was fresh enough that a solitary vulture overhead wasn’t even taking notice.
Later, back in town, I began picking up details. Everybody seemed to have more to add, most of it from Facebook.
Seems the baby male was hit on Charlotte Road earlier in the morning. (Baby? It was bigger than me.) Folks were wondering what took the wildlife officers so long to clear the road. They then took the remains into the preserve, to return to the food chain. Mama Moose, meanwhile, spent the rest of the day wandering forlornly.
It is a relief to know that moose collisions aren’t so common around here that they’re taken for granted. Deer, on the other hand, as everyone will remind me – keep your eyes open.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve ever encountered out on a walk? Or even a drive?