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Outdoors Outpost
Call of the Wild
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 • Posted June 27, 2013

The plural of goose is geese. So it would make sense if the plural of moose were meese, but it’s not. The plural of moose is moose (to avoid confusion). I often wonder who made up the English language rules we follow. I usually wonder that while I’m breaking them.

If the plural of moose were meese, then Tink’s new attractant, designed to be sprayed on vegetation to draw moose, would be called Meese Munch, instead of Moose Munch. At least, I think it would. Just like the toothbrush, if it had been invented anywhere besides Arkansas, would have been called the teethbrush.

Anyway, Moose Munch is a ‘mineral-enhanced spray’ designed to ‘draw moose to your hunting local.’ I think they meant ‘locale,’ but maybe not. It supposedly tastes like honeysuckle, and Tink’s claims it ‘increases the desire and taste of any vegetation.’ Which is a little bit scary. What does vegetation desire, anyway?

OK, I get the point. The stuff is supposed to attract moose, just like a corn feeder attracts deer, so they can be ambushed. Which is all fine and good, but it seems to me the ability to attract a moose, or multiple moose, might be a dangerous thing. Maybe the government should regulate this stuff, issue permits, require background checks, maybe even mandate education before someone is allowed to carry a concealed bottle of Moose Munch. At least, in places where moose hang out, like Alaska.

Moose are fairly docile animals, and seem perfectly harmless when viewed from a suitable distance, like through a television set. In person, though, a moose can be pretty dangerous. They’re way bigger than they look on TV, and although they seldom lose their tempers, a moose could stomp a guy to death just in passing, without actually noticing he was there.

Several years ago, while on a trip to Alaska, the group I was with visited a fellow who lived in a suburban-type area of Anchorage. While the guy was telling us, in his living room, to be careful around moose, we looked out the window and saw one walking through his yard. So, of course, everyone went outside to take pictures of it.

This was a young male moose, with velvety antlers no bigger than the average sofa, and it was calmly meandering through the residential neighborhood, eating leaves from the trees and bushes around the residents’ houses. It took very little notice of us and our cameras, but at one point it turned its head to look at me. It was sort of a ‘OK, you’re close enough, buddy’ look. I decided I was close enough.

That moose didn’t stomp anyone to death, at least not that I can remember. What I can remember is that, even though that moose was very young, and had a lot of growing to do, it was huge. Like way bigger than a Brahman bull, which is pretty big. I would hardly have had to duck to walk under its belly. Not that I would’ve walked under its belly for all the Moose Munch in the world.

So, OK, that moose didn’t hurt anyone, but it could have. It never even acted aggressively, which is more than I can say for a large female moose that showed up at Denali National Park recently, and threatened a group of visitors, including a couple of small children. Which is why the Surgeon General recommends never having children if you plan to visit Denali National Park.

The people were hiking and rounded a bend in the trail and came upon the moose, which charged at them. They all tried to hide behind a tree, cartoon style, but the moose kept coming. You’re probably thinking a tree is adequate protection from a moose. If you’re thinking that, you have probably never been very close to a moose. I wouldn’t consider the Great Wall of China adequate protection from a mama moose with little ones, which seems to have been the case with this one.

So a man in the group of tree huggers, no pun intended, shot the moose with a pistol he was packing, and it abandoned its attack. A park ranger came out and finished the moose off. Bad news for the moose, but there you go.

The story I read about the incident, in Bowhunting World magazine, said this was the second time a wild animal had been fatally shot in Denali since 2010, when it became legal for visitors to carry weapons in national parks, so long as it was legal in the state that contained the park. Which may technically be true, but when I was there in 2005, pretty much anyone was allowed to carry guns pretty much anywhere in Alaska, regardless of what the law said. One member of our group, a 16-year-old boy, carried a pistol the size of a Christmas ham, in full view of the park rangers, and all they said was, “Don’t shoot a bear unless you have to.”

Luckily, no one in our group ever had to shoot a bear, or a moose, or anything. But then, none of us was carrying a concealed bottle of Moose Munch. Because, obviously, we were nowhere near our hunting local . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who makes an effort to never be attractive to moose. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

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