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Thursday, November 8, 2018

Lucy the Moose on the loose

Photo by Paulina Hrebacka, The Kemptville Advance
A moose wandered out of the Ferguson Forest Centre and out onto the highway on Friday the 12th of October. No one was hurt, thank goodness, and the moose was ushered out of town by police, without incident. She was spotted crossing County Road 18 at midnight and again on October 13th in a soybean field outside Oxford Mills. But she hasn’t been spotted since then, unless people have seen her and are just keeping it to themselves. It’s all quiet on the Western front where the Moose on the Loose is concerned.
It was a big deal, to see a moose up close and personal, in our neck of the woods. We don’t normally get them this far south unless you are in a heavily wooded area. So on the 13th when I saw the cars pulled over at the side of the road and people standing in the ditch, taking photos of the moose and attempting to call her over with their faux-moose mating calls, I decided I would like a word with her myself.
“You can come and live at our place,” I told her. I understand that moose can’t see really well. They rely a great deal on their hearing, for their survival, so it is probably their best sense. I just spoke to the moose in a regular voice and she turned to stare in my direction.
“We have 200 acres. Much of it is forest. We also have soybean, but I don’t recommend you tramp all over it or the Farmer will get ticked off. Stay on the edges of the field, like you are now. If you get thirsty, there’s the creek. And if the winter is particularly cold, you can find shelter in our barn. We don’t have any animals right now. It’s just the Farmer in there, with his sawmill. He’s milling his own wood for the cottage he is building…”
I realized I was speaking to a moose. And I thought the people doing the moose calls were weird.
But seriously, I hope she comes to live on our property. If she doesn’t head back up north out of loneliness, that is. I don’t imagine there are too many of her kind around here. I wonder if she gets along with deer? We have at least one complete family living in our forest. The buck has a huge rack. She might be impressed by that.
A female moose is called a cow. Maybe she would like to spend time in a herd of cattle. She has probably already passed through several head of cattle on her recent journey. If she finds a farmer who is a little nearsighted, she might even blend in enough to help herself to their hay.
We are only 3 farmer’s fields south of where the moose was last spotted. If she continues to follow the creek, she will find us. It’s quite possible that she already has. Fergus the Golden Retriever has been doing an awful lot of barking at night. Perhaps he senses she is out there, in the meadow, just beyond the stone fence.
Our neighbour has been working for months, turning his forest into hay fields. Soon the leaves will be off the trees and I will be able to see past the tree line into his property. With the forest gone, my view will likely be unobstructed for miles. Maybe I will be able to see right into the village.
If that moose wanders out into the open, I will be able to see her. It would be comforting to know that she is in a safe place, and not having too many encounters with humans and civilization. Bad things tend to happen when wildlife and humans mix.
My son-in-law christened the animal Lucy the Moose because she is on the loose. I’m sure she would like to keep it that way. Oh and I know what you are thinking – the Farmer is a hunter. No need to worry, though. He only hunts what he likes to eat and he has had moose before. It was not to his liking. I’ve had it before as well, and I’ve got to admit I’m not a fan. So Lucy is more than safe here, should she decide to wander over and stay.
When the snow comes we will be able to track her like we do the deer in the forest.
It’s always nice to know your property is being enjoyed to its fullest.
 Post script: Lucy has since been spotted on the north side of the Rideau, on Fairmile Road, munching from an apple tree. Apparently she can swim!

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