Moose have slowly recolonized our beloved Adirondack Park over the last couple decades, coming from Vermont and Quebec. Moose numbers in northern New York are thought to exceed 500 now. We have large amounts of prime Moose habitat in northern New York, including expansive wetlands and Northern Hardwood and spruce/fir forest.
Moose like to browse wetland plants, especially in the heat of summer, when cool water is more comfortable than hot muggy air. You may also find their tracks and tooth marks from browsing in upland hardwoods, any time of year; and you may be surprised to find their huge prints and long gate in deep snow in spruce/fir forest fairly high in the mountains. Cold does not bother these boreal giants, and moderately deep snow is no problem, with their long legs. Conifers in winter are some of the tastiest things around for the largest vegetarians our region still supports.
Adirondack Moose Sightings
I’ve been lucky enough to see Moose only a few times in the Adirondacks (many more times in Maine and Alaska): first a mother and sub-adult offspring in Cedar River Flow; most recently a big cow Moose near Lake Placid. My most surprising Moose sighting was here in Split Rock Wildway, where many years ago arch-rambler Gary Randorf led me on a “random scoot” which took us to some huge hoof-prints which resolved themselves into a huge dark deer in dense foliage who fled from us as we approached her near Salamander Swamp.
On a wildlife camera on Eddy Foundation land near Parch Pond, we got a couple nice photos of a young bull Moose walking toward Hammond Pond Wild Forest last year (photo shown above). Also, Jamie Phillips and I found fresh Moose tracks a few years ago on the land Champlain Area Trails soon after purchased and protected as the Wildway Passage parcel.
So far, fortunately, Moose in New York’s Adirondack Park seem to be fairing relatively well against the rising Moose Tick problem, perhaps because their numbers are still well below carrying capacity. Moose Ticks here are apparently not such a problem as they are in Maine — not yet, at least.
Hunting Moose: Adirondack Moose Safe; Others Not
Moose in New York are protected, because their numbers here are still low. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have hunting seasons on Moose, and rifle-hunters pay significant amounts of money into state wildlife management budgets for permits to shoot the biggest possible quarry. In Alaska and some parts of Canada, families depend on “bagging” a Moose or two, for their winter’s meat.
As noted elsewhere, though, hunting by humans seldom if ever mimics hunting by wild predators. We humans tend to gun for the biggest “trophy” animals, whereas wild predators usually target the weak or sick, thus strengthening the herd.
Continue reading this series: “Trouble for Moose: Climate, Ticks, and Lack of Predators.”
[Special thanks to Lake Placid based nature conservation photographer Larry Master (www.masterimages.org) for permission to feature several of his photographs in this post.]
Note: The content in this blog post was repurposed and a revised version is included in John Davis’s book Split Rock Wildway: Scouting the Adirondack Park’s Most Diverse Wildlife Corridor published by Essex Editions on Nov. 21, 2017. Learn more about the book and where to buy it at essexeditions.com. Watch the book trailer below.