The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 20 - 1/6/99
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
by DeeAnn Price
Here in Sublette County we're pretty lucky. We have wild animals every where, sometimes even on our own door steps. The magnificent moose is just one of those animals we've gotten to know up close and personal. However, there can be such a thing as a little too personal.
Just Whose Yard Is It?
Years ago the Jim Percy family on Pinedale's Tyler street called the Game and Fish about a cow and calf moose that had taken possession of their yard. They were even afraid to come out of the house. Game Warden, Dennis Almquist tried scaring the cow away. "I used bombs (firecrackers) but it just irritated her," Dennis observed. When she charged he vaulted over the picket fence with one hand, a feat that cost him a trip to the doctor for stitches.
That's Gratitude For You!
Joe and Dianne Boroff, Louie and Drew Roberts were moving cows in the spring, when they found a calf moose caught in the fence. They tried to get close enough to help the calf but the mother ran them off. Louie then rode his horse up to the cow moose so she would pursue him long enough for the others to free the calf . The calf was released and then, "she chased us a half mile," Diane chuckled, "right back to the cow herd."
Fifteen years ago, John Fandek started across his bridge with a snowmobile when he saw a cow and calf moose at the other end. Though he was hollering and gesturing to frighten them away, "It became clear by the time I was in the middle of the bridge that they weren't going to move." John declared. With ears laid back and hackles up she was bluff - charging him. Every time he turned his back in order to get the snowmobile turned around she charged again. It was a long way to the frozen Green River below, at least "ten or twelve feet, " John said, so he grabbed hold of the edge of the bridge and hung there hoping the moose would go away. She came right on, "even made a swat at my snowmobile and carved a hole in the seat" John pointed out. "She'd rear up and try to get at me but couldn't quite do it." John let go of the edge and dropped to the river below, collapsing in the three feet of snow on top of the ice. John couldn't believe his eyes when the cow moose landed right next to him and her calf followed a moment later. What if they had fallen on top of him? John escaped injury but the cow and calf both broke their backs.
Born With An Attitude
Sometimes even a young moose can be belligerent. Dianne Boroff remembers when they were living on the Wagstaff place a "weiner type" calf took up residence in their yard in November for a couple of days. "I don't know if he was cranky from losing his mother or what" Dianne remarked, "but he was mad at the world." The calf moose would chase them right up to the doorstep and was ornery enough to "come in the door with you!" His temperament didn't improve when he moved to the stackyard.
That's My Window Box!
It was New Year's Day in the 1980's when Victor and Jo Mack had an encounter with a three or four year old bull moose. They were living on the Frank Ball place at the time and had just gotten back from eating lunch. "We never locked the door," Victor emphasized. but for some reason it was locked this time. The window box that Jo had arranged with dried grasses and flowers was wrecked and the guilty moose was eating at the alfalfa stack, "a couple of hundred yards away." While Jo was using her key in the lock the moose started towards them. His stiff - legged walk, laid back ears and bristled neck hair let them know he meant business. "I was getting pretty anxious," Victor reflected, by the time Jo got the door unlocked.
Who's The Boss Here?
When John Fandek was working for Mickey Buyer a big bull moose was claiming one of Mickey's haystacks for his own. When it finally became necessary to use this hay they followed the old sled trail up to the stackyard gate with the sled and team of horses. Mickey had been needling John about a cow moose that had chased him out of a stackyard earlier so on this occasion Mickey confidently walked up to the moose with a scoop shovel. He was going to show John "the way to get a moose out of the stackyard." and John who says that "ninety nine percent of the time I have a camera in my hands," snapped a picture just as Mickey raised the shovel over his head to smack the moose on the nose. The bull charged and Mickey ran out the gate with the moose right behind him. Afraid that the moose would spook the horses he veered to the side of the sled trail and landed in five feet of unbroken snow. The moose plunged after him and they floundered in the snow together until the bull ran back to the stackyard. John still regrets that the picture he took was of a bull moose that had already lost his horns.
Saved By The Tree
Stan Olsen was deer hunting one fall seven years ago when he stepped out of a willow patch into a clearing. A bull moose, cow and calf were standing just 30 feet away. Stan watched them for a bit but then the bull "looked at me kind of funny" and charged. Stan stepped behind a big cottonwood tree and had his gun ready to shoot if necessary. Luckily the moose halted his attack. "It really scared me at the time." Stan confided.
Moose &Golf Courses Don't Mix
Mike Lauger chases moose off the golf course because their big hooves make depressions in the turf. They'd usually leave when he picked up the seven foot flag stick and he never thought to be wary of them. Mike believes there is an old rutting ground in the willows by Number Seven Green and this particular September morning, three years ago, he saw a big bull moose, two small bulls and a cow and calf there. The grass was icy and to avoid making tracks on the green he chose to break off a willow branch instead of getting the flag stick. The moose were 50 feet away and before he could get his branch the big bull charged. Mike made for a small hole in the willows but he managed to travel just five feet before the bull slammed him in the back with his antlers. "I know now how fast moose can travel." Mike emphasized. His face and hands were jammed in the willows and he was afraid to turn around in case the moose was still behind him. When he got the courage to look, the bull was right back with his companions. "I wanted out of there!" Mike declared, but the wheels of his golf cart just spun on the frozen grass. He covered the short distance to the club house on foot where his wife noticed his bloodied hands and face. "I tried to coax him out of going back out there." Barbara explained, but Mike got his video camera and figured he'd be safe enough in the truck. The bull charged the truck too, coming close enough to move the rear view mirror. Dennis Almquist told him he was lucky the moose attacked with its antlers instead of it's hooves. "I could have been killed!" Mike exclaimed.
Have your own Mad Moose story you'd like to share? Call Rob at 367-3713.
Photo credits: John Fandek, John Fandek
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The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941 Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul email@example.com