I'm A Moose Matador

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Now I know two things about myself... I was born to be a matador, and my eventual cause of death will be trampling. I've been working in the yard, but had a moose incident of some proportion, so I decided to come in and let the adrenalin settle... so here I am at the keys telling my tale of a foolish old fat woman that protects her garden like the Alamo.

While transplanting some yellow perennial foxglove, I heard the dogs barking excitedly and spotted a moose entering the yard. Now, if you've never been very close to a moose, they are quite huge... the size of a horse, only taller, and easily excitable... at least this one was.

In another thread, I think I mentioned having tried spraying one with a hose, and it charged me. You can always tell when they are ready to charge, because the hackles go up on their back like a dog. Of course, I can't outrun a moose, so I dropped the hose and darted behind a tree. The moose ran past me and off to the woods. In a couple other incidents, I managed to encourage them out of my yard with some rather loud renditions of the theme from Mr. Ed. My experiences have usually been with cow moose and calf.

Today was a whole new experience in moosery. The visitor was a young bull. He wasn't concerned about my presence, and he wasn't phased by the dogs barking. It is often best to quiet the dogs, since moose tend to challenge dogs and go out of their way to do so. Corndog obeyed my command to "stay" and "be quiet". I really don't think she wanted to challenge him either.

As he walked the yard looking for morsels.. and they were in abundance, I began singing the Mr. Ed theme song. It wasn't having the desired effect, so I got a bit louder and added lots of vibratto. I even changed key to make it more offensive. Finally, he walked across the road into a wooded area, and I felt good about once again singing away a moose.

However, about 10 minutes later, he was back in the yard. I started to sing again, and he wasn't impressed. I silenced the dog and tried to maintain a noisy presence so that he would decide it wasn't a good place to be. After singing in a key that was high enough to make my throat ache, his hackles went up and he charged me.

I ducked behind the same tree I had ducked behind the year before and he ran by, but instead of continuing out of the yard, he turned and ran at me again. I moved to the other side of the tree, and we played tag for what seemed like about three hours, but was in all likelihood about three seconds. Finally, he just trotted off into another area of the yard, & I followed him at a distance, wondering what to do next.

I have heard that a moose will yield to anything with a bigger rack than he has, so I stuck my arms out, bent upward at the elbow, to impersonate a big bull moose. Well, let me tell you, that is a real fable. This young bull must have thought I wanted to do battle, and he was up for a tussle. He came charging through the brush at me, and I stepped behind a little alder with three trunks no bigger than 3" in diameter. When he came past me, I could have reached out and touched him... not that I was inclined to do so. ("Tap, tap, tap. Hey, buddy, you missed me!" ...not likely!)

By this time we'd both become quite upset, and neither of us was really backing down... although I was sure moving out of the way in a much speedier way than I ever thought I was capable of. I decided to plead with him to leave. Maybe it was something in my tone, maybe it was the fact that I was just more trouble than he wanted to deal with.. whatever.. he trotted off across an area that has several pallets of perennial plants, without so much as tipping one over.

He began nibbling salmonberry bushes in our woods, and I stood back to let him know I was still around, but willing to allow him to eat in peace. When I finally felt he had vacated my yard for awhile, I came in to check on the dogs. The oldest one is about 12, and she never even made the trip out to where I was dueling with the moose. Her daughter, the younger one is about 6 years old, and she had stayed outdoors as I swung behind trees and the moose crashed through the brush. It took me several minutes to convince her everything was OK. Now, if I can just convince myself!

As I sit here writing now, I wonder what in the world possessed me to challenge a young bull moose! He is one of the few things I don't outweigh, he is younger and faster, and he has hooves. Moose have been known to trample people to death, so it is no small thing to square off with one. I accept the fact that I am stupid, I accept the fact that he is a wild thing, doing his wild thingery, but I've worked so hard on this yard, I've spent so many hours planting, transplanting... I just have too much invested to allow him to nibble the tops out of everything because it happens to strike his fancy. I think I am destined to die in my yard, trampled by a moose. Someday, Dennis will come home and find a big flat grease spot in the yard wearing a pair of garden gloves. Oh, well, I guess it beats a wheelchair in a rest home. Anybody have any foolproof moose deterents that aren't fatal to either me or the moose?

Belfield, ND(Zone 4a)

I'd be finding me a pellet gun or one of those guns that just make noise, to scare them off. This makes my little 'ol meek deer look pretty good!

Castelnau RB Pyrenée, France(Zone 8a)

Oh wow Weez what an encounter!!!
Thank goodness you won out in the end. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about!

Moose look so great to those of us who never have to share our gardens with them. In fact i've been all for reintroductions here if we had a large enough area of the right habitat. May think again after your history with them

Hope your coming back down from that adrenalin high now

Thank God you and your dogs are fine. I remember seeing moose in NH and before that I never realized how huge they are. Not to make light of what must have been a terrifying experience but I would pay money to see you singing to that moose.

Crossville, TN

Weez...you are such a good story teller...I think you should write a book....I love to read your posts...and am so glad that you perservered over the moose! Jo

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Yes, I've come back down from the adrenalin high. In fact, I've had a couple cocktails, and a hot bath sounds good. All that excitement sure wears me out. Looking back, I know I did a foolish thing. I was willing to chance serious injury or death to save my garden. I really don't know why I was so obsessed, but I'm guessing it's all the hard work I've put into it, and I was being pretty territorial. He's got the whole wilderness to munch on. I don't go out there and cut down all his willows, so he shouldn't come in here and snack on my flowers.

My mistake was underestimating the power of testosterone. He was young and studdly and thinking he could rule the world. I am old and fat and foolish about my plants... a bad combo. Aggression is never a good idea with moose. I'd rather chase a black bear out of the yard than a moose.

I've got to come up with some other way to scare him. I don't want to shoot him, I don't want to injure him in any way... I just want him to go away. It's really the best for him, as well, since moose usually come to bad ends when they hang around residential areas. A couple weeks ago, a cow and newborn calf were in the lot across from us, and the neighbor's Afghans were barking and worrying them. Dennis took the 22 out there and fire off a shot to send the dogs home, but it was only a matter of time until something took down that calf. It was hit by a car a few days later. Moose need to stay in the wilderness.

JoanJ: It's a really bad idea to do anything that makes them mad. A BB gun would just make them surly and turn for an attack. I found that out with the garden hose. Making a big noise might be better. Dennis brough home a couple seal bombs to throw out in the yard next time. I still wouldn't do it unless I was under cover. The moose could still charge at me. It's a real problem sometimes when wilderness meets residential.

Woodsville, NH(Zone 4a)

Weez, The biggest problem we have with them around here is auto accidents.It's never good when you hit one with your car and there are lives lost every year. Now black bear are another story. They are a pain in the neck.About twice a week I have to go out on the back deck and scream, holler, and bang pans together to chase this one big guy that is determined he is going to destroy all my bird feeders.Yes, I know I should take the feeders in but I enjoy the birds too much.He knows me well by now so when I yell at him he just stands looking at me with a disgusted look on his face.It really is a bad thing when wild life is no longer afraid of humans. Be careful around those moose Weez, they can be ornery critters.

This message was edited Wednesday, Jun 12th 12:03 AM

Oak Ridge, NJ(Zone 6a)

Holy Crow!!! Closest I've been to a moose it is watch it on TV and then it astounded me with it's size. Glad you weren't hurt.
We have a huge bear that visits us several times a week. I wonder if Mr Ed's song would encourage him back into the woods. If I weren't such a chicken, I might give it a try.

Lewisville, TX

Dorise - Nah, wrong species. You'd have to sing the Yogi Bear theme song to make him leave - LOL!

I wonder if one of those air horns scare them away?

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Got Weez a bunch of "seal-bombs", these are about 3 times as big as a "cherry-bomb" and very loud. We use them to scare seal away from our nets when we're commercial fishing for salmon.

Also left a loaded 7mm. magnum rifle on the front porch.
Contacted fish and game and told them the problem we've been having with the young bull, they said " do what you wont to do". If I have to shoot it they will come and take the meat to a charity.

Oh well, life in the last frontier.........Dennis........

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

I sure don't want to see that young fellow shot. He's just young and stupid with raging hormones. I'd like to find another way to discourage him, and I hope the seal bombs will do it. Maybe after our last encounter neither one of us want to repeat it. I hope some alarm bell goes off in his head when he attempt to step back into my yard.

Salem, OR(Zone 8a)

I just now saw this thread. I am remembering some darn close calls with the long legged ones myself. When I called the moose police (after being trapped inside a friend's car for over a half hour in 10 degree weather) I was told to keep big pots and pans around, with big utensils to bang them with. And they also said the M80s were a good idea, but would never admit to anyone since they are illegal. And they told me no way could I shoot it unless it charged me. So I guess you're safe there. For crying out loud, you could have been killed!! I was tortured by a female with old calves, but those young studly males are even more unpredictable.
I guess when you lay out the smorgasboard, the moose are bound to get a wiff of those fresh dishes, so lovingly prepared. So what are you going to do when you sleep?
I am just glad that you and the doglets are OK. Be careful, and remember it is only a plant. Blasphemy I know, but I prefer Carol to petunias, and I like petunias a lot....

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Thanks, Penny. I know it was a stupid thing to do, but I really wasn't thinking. It was something primal between me and that young and studdly moose. I've got a real stubborn streak, and I'm pretty territorial. He just thought I was someone he could beat in a fight... and he's right. You're right, it's only a plant, but in this case, it is many, many plants. He could have wiped out hundreds of dollars worth just grazing a bit... the little jerk.

I have the seal bombs in the greenhouse and on the porch, so I'll give that a try. I can tell you that banging pots would be a bad idea. Sudden noises just sent him charging toward me. It has to be something totally scary like a bomb. Of course, I'll be dragging the dogs out from under my bed to reassure them!

Austin, TX(Zone 8a)

Weez, what a great story, but only because it had a happy ending! I'm so glad you're okay and hope that moose never comes back. I think I will add MOOSE to my list of reasons not to move north.


Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Amari: If you're going to compile a list of reasons not to come to Alaska, the lack of fresh sweet corn and tomatoes would be a ligitimate addition. However, being able to chase a moose out of your yard is the reason many of us came up here.

Every time I see an eagle fly over with something in his talons, I am both awed and amused to think that someone somewhere might be calling their miniature poodle in vain! People buy pigmy goats and tie them out in the back yard, only to lose them to black bear who are delighted to find dinner on a string! I've often picked wild raspberries, knowing that the bears are out there somewhere picking them too.

It was my stupidity not to allow for the macho attitude of this moose. Generally, there are ways to deal with these big beasts. I'd be much more frightened to walk down a strange city street, not knowing who could mug me. I guess we all get used to our own preditors and fellow grazers. In spite of the close call, at least I know that Mr. Moose didn't step into my yard with plans to stomp me. I just punched his buttons.

Austin, TX(Zone 8a)

Good point Weez. Mr. Moose needs to come off the list and he's probably much less dangerous than some of thugs that walk past my house every day. DH really wants to move north because he is tired of the hot summers here. I've been compiling a list of why we should stay put, but I'm definately losing the battle. If I ever said, "Hey hon, let's move to Alaska" he would be thrilled.


Oak Ridge, NJ(Zone 6a)

Weez.. If I'm ever missing my sweet little chihuahua, I'll be sure and give you a holler.

We have no eagles around here, but some very very large hawks. So, I always stand guard over her when she goes out in the back yard to do her business.

Alaska is so beautiful. Had a job offer there once, years ago, to share a practice with another midwife. Was always sorry I didn't at least go up and look into it.

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Most people that come to Alaska are either hooked on it or can't wait to get home. I was hooked.

Feeding Hills, MA(Zone 5a)

I think Chevy Chase can use this scene in his next movie....:*). I just can't imagine it!

Glad you are ok.....that would be way too much
excitement for me.


Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

KatBaxter: Yes, it sounds like "Alaskan Vacation". It was, apparently too much excitement for me, as well, because I fell sound asleep on the couch at 8:30 pm!

Springfield, MA(Zone 6a)

well it might have been helped along by the cocktails and the warm bath too. good thing you didn't fall asleep in the tub and drown. :) katbaxter told me about this thread and she said i "had to read it", it was a real hoot. well you were right. folks you have all made my morning. what a nice way to start the day.
This is how i picture what happened. you are dressed in a bright floral dress ,a big garden hat holding a purple cape and the moose just is staring, in awe, at this apparition that is singing to him. He must have been saying: "she's kinda cute" "think i'll just go and show her my stuff"
running moose.......... "oh she's trying to play hard to get is she?.." "and she's singing to me again. she loves me! she wants me....!"
running moose......
"nope, she's just a moose teaser"....
"guess i'll go get some of those berries over there, this is just too much work." trot, trot, trot....munch, munch munch....moose looks over from berry bush. "she's still there, think i'll go find me a more willing moose for my afternoon delight." can't win them all"
moose leaves scene.
you pass out on the ground.
end of story.....

Feeding Hills, MA(Zone 5a)

Such imagination....tears running down my cheeks.
Needed that laugh.

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Debi: That's a great image! Actually, I was wearing a pair of dirty old sweats and a stained tee-shirt. I weigh over 200 lbs, so I'm considerably slower than the studdly moose. I think my only attraction was that I was such a big target!

Springfield, MA(Zone 6a)

weezingreens, you have the same wardrobe as me for the garden. :) hope that moose has stayed away. debi z

Grove City, OH(Zone 6a)

Ditto. Any fresh sightings of Mr. Studly Moose? Wow maybe that would be a new cartoon idea for Fox or MTV? LOL Penthouse or Hustler would probably snap it up.

Seriously, I hope he has gone to new horizons.

I really, really hope you don't have brown bears (grizzlys) around you. They are much worse than the black ones.

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

We had a visit by Mr. Moose about 5 days ago, problem was we had customers shoping at the greenhouse at the time with thier small children in tow.

After getting the kids up on our front porch I grabed my rifle and a seal bomb. The seal bomb did the trick and he headed to a less noisy feeding area.

Did find a fresh hoof print in one of our raised beds, must of been a nocturnal visit. If keeps it up he will end up in our freezer.

We do have bears around here, both black and brown but there has'nt been any problem with them for a few years. You just have to keep your eyes open. Like when we go berry picking, we take a rifle or shotgun with us.

Oh, such is life in the great north country.


Brewers, KY(Zone 6b)

I just saw this for the first time..what a funny story. I am glad you are okay. I was reading Big Red's thread about the moose in his yard and asked a dozen questions..I think you just about covered all of 'em I asked! Maybe you should think about wearing one of those baseball caps with horns on it while you are working in your yard :-) . Great story.

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Hi, Lisa. Haven't had a visit from Mr. Macho Moose in quite awhile. Maybe he's in some poacher's freezer.

Kannapolis, NC(Zone 7b)


This is TOO funny !! You have to read this!!!!

Weezingreens you are absolutely one of THE funniest people I've had the pleasure of 'meeting!'


So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Weez, I musta missed this the first time around. What a funny story, afterwards. LOL.

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Thank you, folks. I am glad I have lived to tell it!

Castro Valley, CA(Zone 9a)

Weez, you are just too funny, lol lol, sounds like a great place to live, better than to have to watch out for some thug on an evening walk most places!!!

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

The worst thugs I have around here are the blue jays! They are like a bunch of juvenal delinquents! Every once in awhile, a bear will take exception to sharing his berry patch, but most of the black bear are more inclined to run away. Brown bear are more aggressive, but rarer in this neck of the woods. I'm more concerned about the neighborhood dogs than the bears, to tell you the truth.

Once again, I find myself laughing outloud uncontrollably while sitting at my desk and I have no doubt my underliner and mascara is smudging!

Kannapolis, NC(Zone 7b)

Good! I'm glad you think it's funny too!! I just get the funniest visual when I think of the 'sparring' game...

Course we need Weezingreens to be careful too so we can continue to enjoy her stories!!!

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Equil, you'rge going to have that Al Cooper look if you keep running your makeup like that!

Tallahassee, FL(Zone 8b)

That made me think of those Garden.com commercials where people did anything and everything to protect and preserve their gardens...

Maybe you should try some Elvis or something instead of the Mr. Ed song... I'm just sayin'!

Whitby, ON(Zone 5b)

Weezi, you crack me up - what a funny story!!

Seward, AK(Zone 3b)

Dogzilla, which one of the King's songs would you suggest?

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