Monday, February 9, 2009

You know you’re living in Alaska when…

…you open the shop door and run right straight into this:


This is one big friggin’ moose, folks.

The picture really doesn’t convey her size.  She’s a good seven feet tall at the shoulder and probably well over 900lbs – she’s also pregnant.  She’s about fifty feet away in the picture, which is just fine by me.  Her yearling calf is behind her out of frame.  Really, you don’t want to end up between a cow and calf, especially a pregnant cow and calf.

Trust me on this.

I should have been paying attention, I knew they were around.  Becky and I watched her and the calf last night from the sunroom balcony.  And their prints were all over this morning.

I must be losing my edge, getting old or something. Sheesh.

I opened the shop door and the calf was standing immediately outside.  Seriously, I was looking straight into his eyes from about two feet away.  I about jumped out of my skin.  He’s not exactly small either, probably four or five hundred pounds.  He snorted and pawed the ground and then stepped to one side, and that’s when I realized mom was about two feet behind him and none to pleased – ruff full erect and ears flat on her head. Snorting.

I’ve got a freezer full of one of their cousins and I started to think maybe they were here for revenge. 

“Look, Mom, it’s that guy who got Larry! Let’s get him!”

“Stand aside, Junior, while I get out the whoop ass.”

“Awwww, Mom, you never let me have any fun.”

“It’s a human, Junior, don’t touch it, you don’t know where it’s been.”

I carefully shut the shop door.  Moose are visceral creatures, shut the door and you effectively drop right out of their conscience.

“Hey! Where’d he go?”

“Where’d who go?”

I could hear them snorting outside for a minute, then they ambled off.  It’s about –11F right now and the snow makes this weird squeaking noise when you step on it. I could hear them walking away.  I grabbed the camera and the shotgun (just in case) and opened the shop door again.  

I got the one picture, before they decided they didn’t like me and suddenly galloped off around the shop and into the woods.

My heart’s still pounding. 


Yeah, so how’s your morning starting out?


  1. Is that a scar on her flank, or vegetation? I can't tell.

  2. An animal tore into my mother in law's garbage this morning on the side of the road. That's about as exciting as I've got.

  3. It's just snow from the bushes, Janiece.

  4. I had a similar experience in Anchorage last year. I was there on business and walked out the hotel front door. There was a moose chewing on a tree right next to the door. We both looked at each other. It kept eating, and I went back inside and took another exit.

    It was one beautiful animal.

  5. I took a picture of a black squirrel, which had a murderous look in it's eye.

    Oh, who am I kidding. This can't tramp a moose.

  6. That's much more interesting than the dead deer along the side of the road I saw Saturday.

    Also: Wow. That's a Very Large Animal.

  7. Yay moose! :)

    ...from a distance. A very long distance. >.>

    Over here, our most recent monthly apartment complex newsletter said that we have lots of skunks and armadilloes. I begin to wonder if they steal their content from other places, because what we have lots of is deer and raccoons and possums, I've never seen (or smelled) any skunks or armadilloes here...

    (Yeah, my story is so pathetic it doesn't even include an actual animal sighting. ;) )

  8. My morning is totally boring, just so you know. Good thing I don't live there -- I probably would've expired on the spot...

  9. It might not be moose-in-your-yard scary, but last night CuteFilmNerd and I were accosted by a Larger-Than-Life poster of Dr. Phil leering down at us from the side of a Paramount Studios building.

    The horror! The horror!

    Excellent photo, Jim.

  10. The size and ubiquity of the Alaskan moose - combined with the short days, requiring kids to walk to school in the dark - make for a lot of panicked last minute drives to school for me and my boys.

    "Mom, mom, there's a moose by the side of the road on the way to school, can you take me?"

    Driving, driving...

    "Uh, boys, that's a garbage can." Or a bush, or a picnic table, or a whatever. But sometimes it was a moose, and I'd rather they were safe.

  11. It was in the 50s on Saturday and 40s on Sunday -- after a week where the lows were in the 0-15degF range -- so this morning's 20s resulted in our pine trees being all white from frozen fog. Rain is starting now. Last critter seen outside, besides the neighbor's barking dogs, was an ex-raccoon in the middle of the road.

    Nope, not very impressive over here -- you win, Jim.

    Dr. Phil

  12. That's one Big critter.
    so, ok, my siting wasn't until today, a couple of hours ago.

    5 elephants and 2 horses out the office window.

    Yes, I still work in downtown Atlanta. No, I'm not seeing things, no drugs involved.

    The office overlooks CNN Center, Georgia Dome and Phillips Arena. Phillip's hosts the Ringling Bros. circus every year. The animals usually get into town about 2 days before the first show to give them a chance to settle down and rest a bit before they have to perform.

    Kinda fun, they'll have lunch with the elephants one day next week over in the park.



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