We have a moose that has decided to make a free lunch out of our haystack. He wanders his way in and munches on the feed I bought for my horse. He makes me mad and I wish he could just wander his way right into my freezer. But I’m not the only one that is mad at him. He has pretty well taken up residency in our small, rural community and wanders from farm to farm causing havoc and spreading hay and moose droppings in his wake.

My problem is, I often feed my horse early in the morning and late at night when it is dark. I don’t relish the idea of accidentally surprising the moose as he dines by moonlight. I know very well that a moose is much more temperamental than a bear, and often a lot more dangerous. A moose would stomp a person into compost at the slightest provocation.

It was in visiting with my neighbors about the renegade moose that I found out that I wasn’t the only one that was getting fed up with this community pest. My neighbor, J.B., said he stepped outside to find the moose munching happily on his hay stack, and J.B. decided he had had enough. That is, J.B. decided he had had enough of the moose, not that the moose decided he had had enough of the haystack. Anyway, J.B., shouted at his dogs. “Go get him, boys!”

Like lightening the two dogs were off, heading with a loud chorus and dogged determination in the direction of the moose. J.B. decided to step into the house to get his camera so he could take a couple of shots of the chase. When the dogs reached the moose, the moose took off for safer territory. Everything was going according to plan until the moose stopped and seemed to remember that he was a moose and that two dogs do not a pack make. He turned to face them, and the two dogs slid to a sudden halt.

At that point the chasee, became the chaser and the brave barking became whimpering yelps of fear. To J.B.’s horror, the dogs decided that the house was their safest option and headed at full tilt for the open door. J.B. stood in that path and he knew that he too needed to reach the open door, if not before the dogs, at least before the moose.

The moose was closing the distance between himself and the dogs quickly, and the dogs were narrowing the distance between themselves and the open door of the house. J.B. barely reached the door ahead of the dogs and, when he tried to shut it, they let out yelps of protest as if to plead, “Let us in! Let us in!”

J.B. could see the whites of the moose’s eyes as the last dog slid through the door and J.B. slammed the door shut. But the moose was so hot on the dogs’ trail that J.B. was sure the door wouldn’t stop him. J.B. threw himself to the side, sure the door would be shattered into pieces at any moment. But then everything went quiet, except for the heavy breathing of the dogs.

J.B. looked out the window and saw the moose eying the door as if he was considering turning it into splinters. Then the moose turned and headed back to the haystack. One of the dogs, sensing the moose’s departure, started howling as if he were the victor. The moose stopped and turned back to eye the door. J.B. grabbed the dog’s mouth to shut him up, and the moose finally returned to his evening meal.

This morning, I went out and once again found the moose in my haystack. I looked at my big dog lounging sleepily on the deck. I looked at the moose, then at my dog again. “Nah,” I thought. “It’s just a little hay.”

 

 (Daris Howard, award-winning, syndicated columnist, playwright, and author, can be contacted at [email protected]; or visit his website)