Whether we humans like to admit it or not, here in the Moosehead Lake Region, moose pretty much rule the roost. Outnumbering us 3 to 1, any local you speak to should have a pocket full of moose stories. If not, they so obviously haven’t embraced the outdoor culture embraced by most locals in the region. If you’ve never been in the presence of one of these majestic creatures, you are missing out. It truly is a humbling experience. They are so massive, yet pensive, in a sense.
Many people will venture out on their own moose hunt, so to speak, wandering around the area aimlessly in hopes to see one of these beautiful beings. As a local, this makes a whole lot of sense for me, not so much for our visitor’s for a number of reasons. First of all, as a visitor, you don’t know the area very well. Traveling down unmarked dirt roads can certainly put you in a pickle in the North Maine Woods. It doesn’t take long to get turned around, and lose your way. A lot of these roads offer spotty cell phone reception, at best, so getting lost while traveling down these back roads could turn into a long trek which could quickly make you feel like Dorthy, lost in the land of Oz. Another reason is that a lot of visitors don’t understand that, though moose seem fairly docile, they are wild animals, and should be treated as such. Something as simple as a fly could spook them enough to send them charging. Averaging around 7 feet tall, and around 1000 pounds, this is not an animal you would stand a chance with if you were to get trampled. I remember seeing a picture of a woman kissing a moose not long ago. Though this woman lived to tell the tale, you would have a better chance seeing me kiss my own rear end, than kissing a moose. That could have very quickly turned into a tragic situation, as opposed to a cute picture. Another reason is just simply that our local guides know the local moose hangouts, and the best times to see a moose, our visitors don’t!
Moose facts? To us locals, this may seem like redundancy, but ask us about some facts on the polar bear, and I bet the people of Alaska could tell us a thing or two that would blow our minds, so don’t worry about the locals giving you a hard time about asking “silly” moose questions. Afterall, I was always taught that there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers. So, to ward off some of these locals heckling you, here are a few facts about these gentle giants.
- The Moose is the official Maine state animal
- A male moose is called a Bull, a female moose is called a cow, and a baby moose is called a calf.
- Bull moose antlers can be up to 6 feet wide, and weigh up to 90 pounds.
- Bull moose shed their antlers every winter, and grow a new set back in the spring.
- Moose have the highest rate of bone formation growth, growing up to an inch per day!
- The average life expectancy of a moose is 25 years
- Moose can weigh up to 1500 pounds!
- The average moose stands 7 feet tall, and 8.5 feet in length
- Moose can swim as fast as 6 miles per hour
- Moose can run up to 35 miles per hour
- Moose have no upper teeth
- Moose have very poor eyesight
- The Maine moose population hovers right around 30,000
Please, however, don’t ask us when the white tail deer turn into moose, then you’re just asking us to direct you up the golden road, when you ask us where the best restaurant in town is.
As you can tell, moose are fairly impressive creatures. Most people don’t realize just how fast these guys can run, which is why you end up seeing people kissing moose and thinking it isn’t dangerous. Your best bet is to have someone who knows a bit about these animals take you out to see them, for safety sake, but also to increase your chances of seeing a moose!
Our guides head out at 6am, and 5pm everyday, with a group of people, wide eyed, anxious to catch a picture of one of these amazing creatures. The great thing is that they almost always see at least one, usually many more. With local commentary from our guides, usually involving stories from past moose tours, our visitor’s not only enjoy the scenery, but also the company.
Last Monday and Tuesday evenings were particularly successful tours, as our guide came back with news that they saw 18 moose on Monday, and15 moose on their adventure Tuesday! On top of dodging moose left and right, there were deer, hare, loons, osprey, eagles, and so much more to be seen! There aren’t many sounds that are as soothing to me as a loon call, so this was a real treat for our visitors. Though you are on a moose tour, here in the north Maine woods, it’s hard to venture out without coming across at least a few other critters.
I hope I helped clear up some questions about our favorite animal up here in northern Maine, and I hope I’ve enticed you to venture out with one of our guides to check out the wildlife.