Sunday, December 29, 2019

Moose west of Warren MN

I don't like to start my day sitting in front of a computer.  But that's where I was on Friday, December 27 at 9:33.  I heard an email "ping" and up popped a message from my friend Bonnie Howard.  When I get an email, call or text from Bonnie, I know she's seen something special.  She had.

Her message was simple and to the point:  "It's not a Snowy Owl, but there's a moose..." 

I've only seen one moose in the wild - ever - and that one was way far off in the distance.

I grabbed my equipment, hopped in my little Toyota RAV-4 Hybrid and headed west.  About 20 minutes later, I spotted 2 cars pulling away from the location Bonnie had sent me.  Oh no, I thought.  Did I "miss" it?

I looked around.   Off in the distance I noticed dark spot on the snow.
Was that the moose? Yes!    But it was way far off in the distance.

What to do?  I considered my options:  go east, go west, or pull off the road, snap a photo and sit still.  Just watch.

I pulled to the side of the road and took a photo, hoping I'd get a better one.  But a lousy "proof of a moose in the distance" photo is better than no moose photo at all.  Then I sat and watched.  What is this creature gonna do? 

A moose north of Warren MN.  ©HvHughes

She started walking east, and moved closer to the road towards my car.   I watched her through my open window.

She stopped several times.   Hard to say who was more curious. 

Moose in the snow  ©HvHughes

All of a sudden, she lifted up her head and took off.

A moose trotting along a rural road near Warren MN  ©HvHughes

She was headed towards a major highway - less than a mile away.

Not good.  Maybe I could head her off at the next intersection - and encourage her to go north.

Moose gathering speed   ©HvHughes

I got to the intersection before the moose did.  She headed towards the tree line north of the farmstead just up the road.

Moose heading to a tree line.  ©HvHughes

Lucky for me, the farmer was out plowing his driveway.  I pulled in, hopped out of my car and went over to talk.   
Would he be okay with me driving through his yard and up to the tree line?   

"No problem," he said.  "That moose you're looking for, it's just to the north of the trees."    I thanked him and hopped back into my car.

Imagine my surprise when I turned the corner at the tree line and moose was right there!

A moose along the treeline ©HvHughes

I couldn't help but realize just how BIG she was - way bigger than my car.   I didn't want to spook her.  
I watched her through my opened window and whispered:  "Here's where ya wanna head north."

Moose by the tree line ©HvHughes

She stood there and posed for one last photo.  Then I slowly backed up my car, giving her plenty of room to escape to the north. 

That's exactly what she did.

Moose heading north away from the highway ©HvHughes


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