Call me stupid

snowy pasture

It was January and a winter storm had most of us snowed in. The snow plows were out but we were usually last to get plowed.

Earlier in the week, before the storm hit, our neighbor to the east saw a cow moose with two calves in his apple orchard. He didn’t like the moose and her calves eating the apple branches so he sent his prized Rottweiler after them.

The dog managed to get one bark out before the moose kicked him three ways from Sunday. Goodbye prized Rottweiler dog. The angry neighbor hopped in his truck and blew on the horn until the cow and calves left the orchard.

The word was out that there was an ill-tempered cow moose with two calves on the loose. Beware.

The cow and calves must have held up in the willows just west of my fence. The willows would be a good break from the winter wind and blowing snow. Small willows were also food for the moose and an overall good place for the moose to hold up.

One afternoon, about an hour before dark, I looked out my window and saw the cow and two calves. I told my wife I was going to get a good camera shot of them. So I grabbed my Kodak 110, my six-year-old, and three-year-old and headed out the door. I knew a thousand times over not to do what I was about to do, but got caught up in the moment. I wasn’t using my brain.

When we crossed over the west fence, the snow wasn’t plowed. However, the boys were able to walk on the snow. Each step I took I sank up to my waist but was determined to get a good shot of all three moose, so I trudged through the snow until I found a trail someone had made earlier. My snowshoes were hanging on the wall in the garage.

We must have been within 20 yards of the moose when the hair on her neck stood up. Her head moved down to the charging position. And then she charged in our direction. I hollered to the boys, “Run hard and don’t look back.” Thank heaven they were able to skim over the snow. At that moment I wondered how I became so stupid to do such an idiotic blunder and one that would endanger my children.

I turned from my boys and started waving my arms. The angry cow moose, who was within her right to stomp me in the snow, stopped just a few yards from me and veered off to her right. I figured this would be my more than lucky chance to get away. I prayed she would stay away while I was making my escape.

Trudging through the deep snow, while looking over my shoulder, took me forever to get over the fence. I finally arrived at my front door and noticed my camera was missing. There was no way I’d go back to look for it. And I never found it after my stupid fiasco.

Wild animals are a beautiful sight to see. But trying to get close to them almost cost the lives of my boys. That is unforgivable and I won’t forget it.

Nobody informed the moose and her calves that she shouldn’t leave the forest area and come down to civilization. They need to be left alone or call Fish and Game. Keep your distance from them. Your life may depend on it.


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Bryce Angell’s father was an outfitter and guide for 35 years, and Bryce was there to shoe and care for the horses and help him do the cooking. Bryce is from Idaho and still rides into the Tetons, Yellowstone and surrounding areas. His poems are mostly of personal experience.



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