Just 17 years ago, DEC estimated a moose population of 100 in New York and today, that number is around 800
No one connected with wildlife management has ever seen anything like it. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) estimates there are currently more than 800 moose, most living in the Adirondacks, that call New York home.
When you consider that, in 2000, there was an estimated population of less than 100, and cow moose usually have only one calf every two years, the growth rate of NY’s herd is simply astounding.
It appears that the DEC might be considering the establishment of a moose hunting season. But before anyone gets too excited about that prospect, keep in mind that there will probably only be five to ten permits issued, for bulls only, and those permits will no doubt sell for big bucks once they are offered.
Our North American moose, Alces alces, are the largest true deer in the world. A mature bull will measure close to seven feet at the shoulder, and weigh around 1,600 pounds. Cows are only slightly shorter, and can weigh 1,200. Both sexes are usually dark brown or black in color. They are simply magnificent animals.
With the moose numbers on the increase motorists driving in or near the Adirondack country must always be alert, and especially at this time of year. Early fall is the peak for moose activity because of the rut. They are wandering far and wide, even going into areas where they are not typically seen. This vagabond nature increases the danger of colliding with a moose on the roadway, especially at night.
Because they are much larger and taller than deer, running into a moose quite often causes greater damage to vehicles. More importantly, when struck by a vehicle their height often causes their body’s to impact the windshield. If the motorist is going fast enough, he or she could suddenly have three-quarters of a ton of highly irritated moose in his or her lap.
There were several moose/vehicle accidents reported in New York in 2016, with no human fatalities. The moose involved didn’t fare as well.
Moose are most active at dawn and dusk, which are times of poor visibility. They are especially difficult to see at night because of their dark coloring and their height, which puts their head and much of their body above vehicle headlights.
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Here is a really sad tale about how unlucky an angler can be. It seems that, for lack of a $15 fishing license, a legally licensed angler lost out on a cash prize worth $912,825.
Yeah, it really happened.
Here are the facts. Andy Thomossan of Richmond Va. and some friends chartered a boat and entered the 52nd Big Rock Blue Marlin Fishing Tournament. The “Citation” (name of the fishing boat) was captained by Eric Holmes. Unfortunately, the regular mate on the citation could not make the trip. So Captain Holmes hired one of the “for hire” mates that are knowledgeable and always available around charter docks.
They went fishing, and Thomossan caught and landed a record 883-pound blue marlin. Since the previous record marlin weighed 831-pounds and was caught back in 2000, everyone figured that this big fish would win all of the marbles in the $1.66 million tournament. And everyone involved was so happy, with hugs and high-fives all around.
Now the sobbing begins. Under tournament rules, “anyone fishing aboard a vessel” in the Big Rock derby must have a N.C. fishing license, including the captain, the mate and all anglers. And during the post tournament checking, it was discovered that the (un-named) “for-hire” mate on the boat did not purchase a $15 fishing license.
The Citation’s victory was initially put on hold during the awards banquet, and a day later erased by Big Rock officials due to the rules violation. And the fact that nobody in the actual fishing party violated any rules while a temporary mate stated that he had a license but in reality had not purchased one didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except that the Citation’s crew and party were found in violation of the rules, and were disqualified.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, angler John Parks of Jacksonville N.C., caught what turned out to be the winning fish, a 528-pound blue marlin. He was fishing aboard the “Carnivore,” captained by Ed Petrilli of Cape Carteret, NC. And obviously the crew and party of that boat all had their $15 fishing licenses.
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And now for a little fun. It seems there was a major crime wave surrounding the tiny village of Red Lodge, Montana.
Burglary was the obvious infraction, and that crime was repeated more than 20 times in a three week period. The culprit was slippery as an eel, and had managed to elude capture by the authorities.
Then it finally happened. One village resident heard strange noises in his kitchen, walked in, and found himself face to face with this miscreant. And the description he gave to police was unique, to say the least: “Pointed muzzle.” “Beady black eyes.” “Frozen pizza stuffed in his mouth.”
Yeah, this is one crafty black bear.
He just sort of eased into a home, helped himself to whatever might be handy in the refrigerator or freezer, and then took a quick hike back to parts unknown. He had managed to avoid all of the set live-traps, including the one baited with frozen pizzas.
So far the authorities have reported that there has been no violence employed by this malefactor. All attempts to capture him have met with abject failure. And even after all of his poking around in various cold storage units, he still seems to prefer “supreme” pizzas.
I, as the intrepid outdoor writer, had insight into this crime wave. In fact it should have been obvious to everyone living in that region that problems with bears would be unavoidable.
After all, Red Lodge is located along the face of the Beartooth Mountains.
Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at lisenbee@frontiernet .net.