Friday, July 2, 2021

Adirondack moose: One spotted on trails at the Paul Smith’s VIC

mooseBy Alice Menis, Paul Smith’s College VIC Steward

Do you dream of finding an Adirondack moose? Look no further, here at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Information Center we have had multiple sightings of a moose!

Our first photograph of the moose was taken via trail camera during a research project by STEM students at Paul Smith’s College. For the past few weeks, we have been finding tracks on our trails but no one reported a sighting until Wednesday, June 16, when a lucky hiker captured a picture of the moose on the Heron Marsh Trail. The moose has been hanging out near this trail because there is plenty of food in the marsh. Moose love to eat wetland plants such as pond lilies because of their high sodium content. Moose also enjoy leaves, twigs, and buds of hardwood and softwood trees and shrubs.

We are excited to see a moose here at the VIC so early in the year. Typically, moose sightings occur during breeding seasons in late September and October. One reason moose are so fascinating is their size. Moose are the largest in the deer family and weigh between 600 to 1,200 pounds. Having trouble picturing that weight? Cows only weigh between 500 to 800 pounds. Despite their size, moose move quickly and gracefully through the forest and are excellent at camouflage. Moose enjoy wide trails and fields where they can have more freedom.

trail cam pic of mooseAdirondack moose are low in population density and their overall population ranges from 400-800 moose. To most people, this is an alarmingly small density but, in the Adirondacks, it is a sign of growth. In the 1800s the Adirondack moose population was nearly wiped out by unregulated hunting and deforestation. It was not until 1980 that moose sightings were documented again by the DEC. Now hunting the majestic moose is a crime in New York State. Predators to moose still lurk in the Adirondacks. Black bears are the main predators, but coyotes often go after an unsuspecting young calf. Moose are also threatened by automobile collisions, and it is recommended you drive slowly at night to avoid harming a moose.

The most dangerous threats to the moose are much smaller. Parasites often wipe out entire herds of moose. Brain Worm is one of those parasites which causes neurological issues and death. Ticks are another parasitic threat to moose; tens of thousands of ticks can latch onto just one moose. Tick related deaths are lower in the Adirondacks than in Maine. The low population density of the Adirondack moose prevents the spread of ticks to multiple moose. However, due to global warming, ticks survive and take on hosts late into October when they normally would be gone. Although tick related deaths in the Adirondacks are low, this may be a start to a deadly epidemic.

Moose sightings typically occur at dawn or dusk. Our trails open at dawn, and we welcome visitors to go on their own moose hunt. If you reserve and camp at one of our lean-tos you will have a head start on spotting the moose early in the morning. Never approach a moose once you see one as not to startle it. Moose do not want to hurt people, but they will charge if they feel threatened. If a moose starts to approach you do not stand your ground, run away quickly. We encourage you to take pictures or admire the moose from afar. If you take any picture of the moose or tracks send them to us here at the VIC!

You can find more blogs and podcasts from our Stewards and Naturalists at the PSC VIC online at https://www.paulsmiths.edu/vic/naturalists/

Moose photo courtesy of Ed Grant and taken recently at the VIC. Trail cam pic provided by Paul Smith’s College VIC.

 

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Alice Menis

Alice Menis is a 2021 Steward at The Paul Smith's College VIC. When she is not blogging, she can be found patrolling our trails, educating the public and leading the VIC's signature children's environmental education program, the Junior Heron's Club.




6 Responses

  1. MITCH EDELSTEIN says:

    “it is recommended you drive slowly at night to avoid harming a moose.”

    How about you avoid harming yourself. Moose are notoriously hard to see at night and cause major damage to vehicle, driver and passengers. As the old saying went:

    The life you save, may be your own.

  2. Marge Villanova says:

    I am 81 years old and have lived in NYS all my life. In all those years I have only seen a Moose once! It was the summer of 1956 and I was 16 years old. While attending summer camp on Paradox Lake, several of us were taken out early one morning for a canoe ride. Suddenly our counselor stopped paddling, said “shhh” everyone – look – over there and she pointed to the shore. I saw a sight I have never forgotten. An adult moose was standing knee deep in the lake. She put her head all the way under the water for what seemed like a long time, and finally came up with a huge amount of greens in her mouth, dripping with water.! While she chewed she turned her eye to study us, decided we weren’t a threat and went back to eating. I have never forgotten, and in small ways it has affected my sense of wonder and joy with nature my whole life.

  3. JCurt says:

    A moose was seen earlier this week at the foot of Chilson Hill, Ticonderoga, on the Bruce Crammond farm, in the pasture near the barn. Kids took pictures of it, they said it looked like a female.

  4. Vanessa Banti Vanessa says:

    Moose on the loose :):)

    Sorry just had to say it

  5. Liz Thorndike says:

    Alice, congrats on outstanding story and photo. So good to know that wild PSC campus is attractive to iconic moose. Thanks so much for sharing and thanks to Scott for his leadership.

  6. Lorraine Swinyer says:

    I lived here all my life mostly around like clear and I have seen bear deer Fox wolves but I have yet to see The elusive moose even now as I reside in Tupper Lake New York I haven’t seen one moose I’ve seen everything else.

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