The Story of Charlie T-bone
(If you are not interested in reading this, scroll to the bottom and go on to the photographs).
Six years ago we came home to find five moose huddled together under our carport. A very dangerous situation. The moose decided our yard was home for the winter. I have domestic trees in my yard and some of them are favorites of the moose. The moose moved under the spruce tree in our yard for the night. We had one mother with two calves and another with one calf. The problem was becoming dangerous and the Fish and Wildlife Officer brought us some Roman candles, which were supposedly going to run them off. Wrong! The mamas jumped and bolted the first few times the fireworks were ignited. Then, nothing! If we tried to chase them away, the cows would bellow at us. Not a good sign. Eventually one of the twin calves disappeared. (The decayed body was found in the woods behind our place the next spring). Shortly thereafter we were down to one cow and her calf, and another orphaned bull calf. The mamma moose caring first and foremost for herself began to abuse the young bull. Not wanting to be totally alone he moved to the back porch and began sleeping on it. This caused great difficulties as we could no longer allow the dogs to go outside without checking completely around the heavily snow filled yard. (A moose the previous year had already kicked at the dogs through the glass doors and left a large crack in it. Luckily it was an insulated double paned glass.)The cow moose was becoming more aggressive and spending more time in the carport. Finally I called the Fish and Game again. The following day I had a pet moose. The Fish and Wildlife told me either feed the moose or allow it to be destroyed. Naturally we decided to care for the young bull. Moose are very dangerous and will run over the caretaker if they are spooked. They are also very stupid. Survival is the main instinct. The mother moose will run off her calves if she is starving. She is usually pregnant and she is also stronger with more ability to survive a difficult winter. These are not photos of Charley T-bone. They are 1999 photos of young moose, without mamas, who are hanging around our place. We are not feeding them as it is against the law. I have seen a few carcasses on my photographing adventures. Automobiles probably struck the mothers. Moose are on the highway because the snow is deep and with the freezing weather it is crusty. Young moose need the mothers to break trails for them or their chance of survival is greatly decreased. On the following pages there are pictures of moose in Ninilchik. There is also the newspaper article about Charley T-Bone (Peninsula Clarion and Ass. Press.) I was reminded of him because a huge Bull Moose came to my yard and was acting very friendly when I opened the door to try and take his picture. No photo! He came right towards me. He also knocked garbage all over the place. My husband says the moose are just getting smarter. They know where the food is located. If moose consume any plastic bags they will die as they have no capabilities of passing it through their bodies. A few nights later a large cow moose showed up and I caught her with a bag of tied garbage just tossing it up and down like a dog. Guess who cleaned the garbage out of the deep snow the next day? It sure wasn't Mrs. Moose. Several days after this episode a moose was on the back deck, which has a frame for a greenhouse, trying and succeeding in dumping over the bird feeder. Being the dumb animal that they are, she couldn't back up. She tried to turn around and ended up with her hind end up against my new French doors. Oh no! I thought for sure she was going to bust them in. When she finally got herself off of the deck (it has shelves and things so it is no easy trick) she stood and panted for about ten minutes. A few days later a young moose chased my six year old grandson. Guess who was panting that time? Oh well, it is one of the normal things in the life of an Alaskan woman. When moose are killed on the highway the meat is given to needy families. The families must be willing to go any hour of the day or night to remove the moose and begin processing it. The fall of 2000 brought a wounded moose to our yard. He had a large open sore oozing green pus. The Fish and Game said it was most likely an arrow wound as the season had just ended. As long as the moose is eating and feeling well this type of wound generally heals itself. So nothing was done for treatment.