Writing Raven

Writing Raven
Anchorage, Alaska, USA
March 15
I am a twenty-something Tlingit/Athabascan woman. I never plan on leaving Alaska. And - though I wouldn't have thought this was any kind of issue until recent inquiries - am straight, and always plan on being straight, as well. :) I am not married and have no children, so I frequently take children from my friends, spoil them ridiculously, and send them back. I've also begun to write my first book.

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JANUARY 26, 2009 3:58AM

"Ma'am, watch out for the moose!!"

Rate: 3 Flag
This is what I hear yelled at me as I exited my house the other day. My reaction time was ultra slow - which, come to think of it, was probably a very good thing - before I understood what she was talking about.

I have been the worst example of safety behavior around moose this year, and this just takes the cake.

When I finally registered what the chick was yelling at me (I literally went, "Huh?" back at her) I was staring into the eyes of a moose.

After a moment's pause I smiled at the moose (never bad to be polite) and slowly moved to my car. Fortunately, moosie could care less what I was doing. She was chomping the shrubbery - the photo was taken from my car (and yes, that is the door I came out of!)

I think this moose I keep seeing around the neighborhood is the same one. My guess is its a young female, maybe her first winter on her own? That is stretching the limits of my moose knowledge, so I'm pretty open to being wrong.

In any case, just one more example of, "Hey America, DON'T DO THIS."

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That's an amusing photo, nicely capturing the sunlight warming the yard and the moose, and highlighting the size and generally oblivious aspect of moosy behavior. They are not dumb though, just unconcerned about the goings on of smaller, weaker creatures.

As an example of learning behavior in moose, some years ago the University of Maine was conducting research into moose diets. They hired a couple of guys who taught wild, adult bull moose to walk on a leash so that the researcher could follow along with a note pad recording everything they ate. It turns out that they eat a lot of different stuff, but the really interesting thing was the account of leash training. I wonder what she is learning in your neighborhood. One thing I hope that she is learning is the pattern of human comings and goings. I do not know whether Alaskan wardens will ultimately be called on to deal with her, but the likelihood that she will live an uneventful life goes up if she is not easily surprised. Guys I know who run dog sleds report trouble when surprising moose in the dark, and the moose appears to mistake the dog team for a wolf pack. The moose don't go after the humans, but will kill a bunch of dogs pretty quickly. Since we haven't had wolves around here for about a hundred years, this suggests an instinctual defensive response to canids, but no similar response to humans. If so, maybe she can learn to get along.
great pic and story - thanks
Maybe your neighborhood should add one of those Neighborhood Watch signs but one that says Moose Watch!
I love your moose stories. Keep 'em coming, we all need a little smile every now and again. :)