diary of a mama moose
Monday, December 22, 2014
(This may not have much to do with dieting, but then again, it did get me to do a lot more walking this past week. Just wanted to chronicle the event.)
12/13 When I went out to the dogs last night, the boys (Smiley and Tim) went down the hill a bit and were barking. We do have moose that "sleep over" near the bottom of the dog run so I didn’t think anything of it. This morning Bob let them out and there was a young cow near the fence. Still not uncommon as they forage on all the grasses and young trees. Four hours later, she was still there. And at 4pm, she was still there. Reason being is because her calf died near our fence. She is pretty docile, but won't leave her dead baby. Can't say I blame her. We called the police department and asked them if there was someone we could call. They said to “just let the birds take care of it or drag it deeper into the woods. Wow. There is nothing we can do unless we want to pay someone to remove the carcass. The other sticking point is it’s not on our property. Even if someone were to come get the body, they would have to get passed the mama. As we’re told, eventually, the mama moose will move on and "nature will take it's course".
What we don't want is the neighborhood kids (who are not the nicest in the bunch) to go down there and do something stupid will the mom is still there or even worse do something stupid after the mom leaves. So for now, we let the dogs out every couple of hours, but for their safety, we are keeping them in. I don't know how long mama moose stay around after their babies have passed. I hope it's not too long for the sake of our dogs. And me -- I've lost my voice trying to keep the dogs in check.
12/14 As of 10pm last night, the mama moose was still outside the fence. Luckily the dogs have been pretty good. I'm sure hoping something will change. Sure would be nice if this was a dream and the baby was just sleeping and gets up and walks away. No such luck. At this point, it looks like tomorrow will be a repeat of today. At least for the dogs' part.
Speaking of which, I'm going to be heading out yet again. The other bad part about tomorrow is that there is supposed to be freezing rain. Don't know what mama moose will do then. It's so frustrating not being able to do anything. Technically, the deceased moose is not on our property, so the neighbors would have to remove it. They are renters, so I know they won't pay for removal. The duplex is for sale, so Bob was thinking he could call the realtor and tell them that there is a carcass on the property and they might want to talk to the owners about it. Not a good selling point to have a dead animal in the back yard.
Anyway, out I go again. Poor dogs. And poor mama moose.
12/15 As of 8pm last night, the mama moose was still there. We do know she is eating, which was a concern. The dogs are leaving her alone. When Bob let the dogs out in the morning, he went down the hill to where the moose was, and he said that the way she was acting, it was almost like she was asking him for help. I don't know how long it takes a moose to grieve, but it is heart wrenching. Bob did call the realtor and told him the situation. He’s going to call the caretaker of the property and get him to remove the body.
12/16 Mama moose was gone this morning and most of the day, but she came back tonight. I guess she feels safe leaving her baby with us (at least that’s what I like to believe). The dogs are being really good. I’m glad for that.
12/17 No sign of mama moose during the day. As soon as it starts to get dark (about 4pm), she comes back and stands vigil with her baby. I wish there was something we could do. This is awful to watch.
12/18 We haven’t seen mama moose since dusk of last night. I’m hoping she has moved on. Now I just wish something would be done about her dead baby. It can’t stay there forever, but since we don’t know the owners of the property next door, we have no idea what they’re going to do if anything.
12/19 The good news in a sad way is that the baby moose was removed today. I went to feed the dogs at 9am and saw a truck on the street below us with a search light on, and two guys with flashlights got out and started walking around. I got all the dogs in the shed with Allison and went down the hill to talk to them. I asked them if they were looking for the moose and they said yes. I told them where it was and they continued to sweep the area with their flashlights and asked if I had seen the cow which I hadn't since early afternoon two days before. I told them she's been pretty scares the last two days and was only showing up late at night. They introduced themselves as Robert and Mike from Nuisance Wildlife Management. They saw the moose (it was a baby bull) and said they would check for disease and injury. They decided it would be easier to remove the body up the hill rather than across the flatlands, so Robert told the driver of the truck to go around top and they went to talk to the occupants of the duplex to let them know what they were doing.
While that was going on, I talked to Mike who stayed with the body. He kept sweeping with his flashlight in case the cow showed up. He said he hoped she was gone if not for good or at least until they were done as he didn't want to have to "take care of her as well". Mike was the point man and at that time I noticed that he had a huge gun in his had and his finger was on the trigger. Wow. That would be sad if he had to. We chatted for a bit about the cow and her behavior and the big difference between humans and how some seem to easily throw away their kids, and here's a mom that stood vigil for five days with her dead baby. Nature is a strange beast, Mike said.
I left them to their job and told them I'd keep my dogs inside until they were gone for safety's sake (especially since Mike was at the ready if the cow came back). So I fed the stray cats and the mice and birds and then talked to the driver and wench operators and asked them if they knew what kind of reaction the cow would have if she came back and her baby was gone. I was worried that the dogs might be down the hill and doing their usual barking and have the cow get aggressive thinking the dogs did something with her baby. The driver said that was a good question, but usually if the baby is gone, it's more out of site, out of mind so-to-speak, and the cow will move on. That and she may think the baby somehow got up and left and she will go look for him. It took them about an hour and I left the dogs in for another 30 minutes just to be safe. It was a relief to have the body gone, but it was also very sad. I'm glad Iva wasn't home.
After they left, Bob called their office to thank them for a good job. They were very good and even respectful of the body. They said they would do an autopsy and dispose of the body (if the meat is not salvageable which it isn't, they will then burn the remains). Bob also called the police department and gave them the name and number and said this is the information they should be giving out to people, not to "let the birds take care of it" or "drag it deeper into the woods". Sandra, the woman who answered the phone at the wildlife office and who is also Robert's wife, said they had gone into the police department a few years back and tried to educate them, but they are a hopeless cause.
We haven’t seen the mama moose anymore. I do hope she stays around as we like the moose. But I also hope she does move on, and maybe next spring she’ll come back with a new baby.