Friday, September 16, 2005
Drivers beware — there's a moose on the loose
Two independent sightings of a moose occurred Sunday on conservation lands near the Concord River.
Carlisle Conservation Commissioner Tom Schultz was approaching his garden plot at the Foss Farm conservation land on Route 225 at about 6 p.m. when a moose stepped out of the woods and into the dirt road right in front of his car. Schultz said, "He is a young bull — maybe 400-500 pounds; nice rack on him. We turned off the motor — we were the only ones there, and watched as he used Foss like a grocery store, walking the aisles looking for things to eat. He strolled across the field, finally going down towards the river."
Earlier that day, Sandra and David Brigham of West Street in Billerica also saw a young bull moose in that area. They were walking trails between the Greenough and Foss conservation lands with their 17-month old Rhodesian Ridgeback, and were near the river when they spotted the animal.
Sandra Brigham described the encounter: "It was about 60-80 feet away from us — gulp. I put the dog in a stay. The moose advanced slightly toward us to have a better look — double gulp. It did not bolt. We stayed where we were, and it walked away in short order, not to be seen again."
When you see a moose
The MassWildlife web site advises: Keep a safe distance and do not follow the animal. Keep dogs under control. Cows are protective of their young, and bulls can be unpredictable during the breeding season in September and October.
Drivers should be on the lookout, especially near the Concord River. Moose in a road tend to ignore oncoming traffic. With its long legs, a moose hit by a car will often flip onto the car's windshield or roof. Results can be devastating.
Moose have been infrequent visitors to Carlisle in the past. Two years ago in July, Marjorie Johnson found moose tracks in her garden plot at Foss Farm. Kay Fairweather helped her photograph and measure the seven-inch long hoof prints. Fairweather described it in her August 1, 2003 Biodiversity Corner. Deer prints have the same shape but are less than half as long.
Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard saw a moose while driving along Route 225 in Bedford near the Concord River about a year ago.
An estimated 500 to 700 are living in the state today. Adult moose stand six feet tall at the shoulder, and weigh from 500 to 1000 pounds. Only the bull grows antlers, which are shed yearly in midwinter. Moose feed on aquatic vegetation, as well as grasses, leaves, twigs and tree bark.To learn more, visit the state web site: www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/dfw_moose.htm.
© 2005 The