Happy New Year!!
For many people, the primary attraction to Maine’s Baxter State Park is for the chance to have a close encounter with moose!! Baxter State Park is one of the best locations in the Northeast US to see moose – however even here, sightings are not guaranteed!!
Besides actually seeing a moose – there are two easy ways to know that moose have been in the area. The first is to find their scat (droppings), which are like deer droppings only much larger!!
The second way is to see their foot prints. This will also give you a clue as to the size of the moose. First year calves will have smaller, less deep foot prints. Larger males will have much larger and deeper foot prints. The first two photos below depict both signs – scat and foot print.
Moose in Baxter State Park are free roaming, wild animals and can show up anywhere, even if you don’t see these tell-tale signs. However, it’s a good bet to wait in an area where there are many of these signs, especially if they are found near a pond.
While waiting near a pond with the moose signs shown above, I waited out any number of rain showers – and this wet Red Squirrel that constantly tormented me, probably saying “No moose for you!!”
The last rain shower produced the closest rainbow I had even seen. It literally lit up the side of the pond where I had been waiting for several hours – surely this must be a good sign!!!
Not long after the rainbow disappeared, a large male moose came out and wandered around the pond in search of a suitable mate. Moose have a keen sense of smell, and during the rut the males use this to their advantage to find a mate.
Waiting outside for several hours through the rain showers paid off!!!
Resources for more information:
– Maine Foliage Report: http://www.maine.gov/doc/foliage/report/index.shtml
– Maine Moose fact page: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/education/wildlifepark/wildlife/moose.htm
– Moose Wikipedia fact page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moose
– Baxter State Park: http://www.baxterstateparkauthority.com/