Prints Lead to Thief

The moose have been in the yard every day lately: mom and Junior with his cuuute little wrack of antlers, and then yesterday, Junior’s yearling sister who I haven’t seen all summer. I think it was her. I have yet to get the forensics back, but her behavior pointed towards her as the culprit. Of course, on this occasion my camera memory card was full!!!

I had noticed yesterday that suddenly my full, beautiful flowering kale, which I had left in my front planter box, was gone. I have a waist-high planter box 3 feet wide and 6 feet long about 4 feet away from the front porch, next to where guests park. This year, I left the plants in it at freezeup, to see if they made interesting shapes for the snow to settle on. The big, broad head of the ruffly flowering kale was splendid at two feet tall and nearly a foot across. Then when I got home from errands yesterday, I thought, hey, wait a minute…something’s different…And sure enough, in that bed, all 3 kale plants were chewed off with stems about six inches tall left in place. That was bold for the moose to come that close to the house! And sure enough, Little Girl found their hoof prints in the snow on the parking side of the planter, neat little teardrop shapes about the size of my palm, stamped into the snow.

Little Girl wanted to sit outside and watch the moose eat from the apple tree yesterday afternoon, so I let her. After a while, I slipped out the front door onto the porch with my camera, too, to watch them with her. It was mom and Junior in the apple tree. They swiveled their ears towards me but went back to eating when I sat down on the porch. Then the more petite female came from the side of the house. She slowly walked straight towards me. She got halfway across the parking area to within about 10 yards of me. She halted and sniffed and eyed the planter a few yards in front of her. She looked curiously at me and sniffed. I’d been baking cookies. I know they love the sweetness of berries and apples and wonder if the scent that had come outside with me appealed to her.

She slowly walked straight towards me. I quit fiddling with how to delete pictures off my camera to make room to take video of her so close up, and started to plan my retreat if she kept coming. She stopped eight or ten feet in front of me, sniffed, and eyed the flower planter right by her. She could have been on me suddenly, so I weighed whether to stand up and look big, but thought that might startle her into charging or kicking. I wanted her to come closer out of curiosity, but that wouldn’t be good to encourage my mooses to think of people as the source of something yummy, because that could get dangerous for me or guests in the future. I sat still on the top step of the porch, then started staring right at her, dominantly and aggressively. She jerked her head back, her ears twitched back, she snorted a bit, and she turned to the side and walked off. Huh. She decided the choke cherry tree looked pretty good, so moseyed over there to browse. Of all the times not to have room on that memory card!

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