Mr. Bull Moose Joins the Fall Fun in the Wilmington Notch
Autumn in the Adirondacks got off to a great start with an early morning trail run in the crisp mountain air followed by an afternoon of watching one of my favorite Adirondack animals, a bull moose.
The sun was just starting to lose his battle with the clouds when the resident biologist was called to a section of NY State Route 86 that runs along the West Branch of the Ausable River between Lake Placid and Wilmington known as “the notch.” Concerned citizens had reported a moose was stuck in the River.
Upon arrival, Ed found not only a bull moose wading in the water, but also a crowd of moose watchers on the narrow section of highway along with the requisite stopped and slow moving cars, NY State Police and NY State Department of Environmental (NYSDEC) Conservation Officers.
Mr. Bull Moose chose an extremely dangerous and narrow section of road for his Equinox appearance. The NY State Police had their hands full with traffic control. As usual, they patiently worked hard to keep people from killing themselves and each other.
Officials were concerned for his safety because the animal was exhibiting unusual behavior for a moose: he stood nearly stationary with river water rushing around his ankles for hours. The goal of the NYSDEC moose biologist, otherwise known as Adirondack Lifestyle resident biologist Ed Reed, was to get the moose moving to determine if the he was seriously injured or sick. Naturally, Mr. Moose chose the far side of the rushing river for his soak and it was clear a simple “Shoo- shoo, git!” and a few stones tossed in his direction was not going to work.
When NYSDEC side-kick and technician Ben Tabor hit him with a few paint balls, Mr. Moose moved to avoid the annoying stings, and showed everyone he was not badly injured or ill, he was just chilling out in the river.
When the moose ran to avoid the paint balls, Ed was able to tell he seemed to be slightly favoring a rear leg. Ed’s opinion was the moose may have slipped on a river rock, sprained an ankle, and was using a little hydrotherapy; soaking his leg in the river to reduce the pain and swelling. Once again, as is so often the case in our stories of wild animal/human interactions, everything was going just fine until the humans got involved.