We live a couple of miles from the river and a couple of miles in the other direction from land run by the Bureau of Land Management. Between the two, the deer and antelope roam. Well, not so much the antelope, but lots of moose. Our place is a favorite stopover for moose who like to help us harvest our apples. I don’t mind too much since we usually have extra to share. But sometimes, they decide it is all theirs and don’t want to share with us. That is kind of what happened this week.
On Friday, I needed to be at work early. I had an annual interview with my supervisor, and I had a few final things to prepare. But when I came out to drive to work, there was a moose sleeping under the pine tree by the driver’s side of my pickup.
I thought I’d move slowly and carefully and try not to bother him. No such luck. The minute I moved toward the door of my pickup, he jumped to his feet and whirled to face me. He lowered his ears, and I knew it was time to retreat. I moved to the other side of the pickup and thought I would climb through from the passenger side. Then I remembered that door didn’t open from the outside.
I couldn’t just take the day off when I had an important meeting. I decided it was time to negotiate. For my part, I started yelling at him and waving my arms, trying to look big and scary. I hoped that for his side of the exchange, he would leave. Negotiations are never one-sided, and his proposal was that he would chase me and that I would be the one to go. He won that round because of his strong position and bad disposition, and as he came after me, I dashed back to the house.
I got my shotgun, but not wanting to hurt him too much, I retrieved some rubber bullets that the Department of Fish and Game gave me for such purposes. I loaded one in the gun and put a second one in my pocket. I walked toward the moose, stopping at a safe distance. He looked at me like he dared me to come any closer. I fired off my first negotiating shell. He looked stunned for a minute, like he couldn’t believe I would do that. I quickly loaded the second round.
He again proposed to chase me and have me run. I fired the second shell, and once more, I had to concede to his superior bargaining position. He chased me all the way back to my house, stopping at the stairs leading onto our porch.
I ran inside and slammed the door, not sure if he was going to follow me in. I was now sure I was going to be late for my meeting, so I grabbed a couple more bargaining shells. I opened the door, but not too much. He was only about ten feet from me. I aimed toward his back end so I wouldn’t hit anything vital, and I fired.
At that proximity, my bargaining chips had more force than they had from the distance I had kept between us previously. I saw a puff of fur that then fell to the ground. It was about the same amount as when my older brother decided to give me a haircut when I was three and he was five.
The moose finally accepted the strength of my argument, turned, and trotted away. He didn’t run too fast. He seemed to want to ensure I knew that he would be back for another meeting if I ever let my guard down. And speaking of meetings, I hurried to my pickup and barely made it to my interview in time.
As for the moose, he set up camp away from the pine tree by my pickup and instead made his home at my old milking shed. I can live with that. He can stay there and eat all the apples he can dig out of the snow, as long as he doesn’t chase anyone else in our neighborhood.
After all, the best negotiations occur when both sides are willing to compromise a little.