By Alice Menis VIC Steward

Do you dream of finding an Adirondack moose? Look no further, here at the VIC at Paul Smiths we have had multiple sightings of a moose. In the winter Dan Kelting’s STEM students with the Adirondack Watershed Institute found moose tracks in the snow. On Wednesday, the 16th a picture was taken at 9 am on our Heron Marsh Trail. Moose sightings typically occur at dawn or dusk. We open here at the VIC at dawn and welcome visitors to go on their own moose hunt. If you reserve at one of our lean-tos you will have a head start on spotting the moose early in the morning.

The moose has been hanging out near our Heron Marsh trail because there is plenty of food for him to eat. Moose love to eat water 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 August. It is not surprise as to why Moose are so exciting to encounter. Moose are the largest in the deer family and weigh between 600 to 1200 pounds. Having trouble picture how much weight that is? Cows only weight between 500 to 800 pounds. The moose’s weight won’t slow him down, 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.

Moose caught on trail camera April 9th 2021. 

Adirondack Moose are different from the Moose that live in Maine and the population density is much lower. In the Adirondacks moose population estimates range from 400-800 moose. To most biologist this is an alarmingly small number but in the Adirondacks it is a sign of growth. In the 1800s the moose population was nearly wiped out by unregulated hunting and deforestation. It wasn’t 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 collisions and it is recommended you drive slow at night to avoid harming a moose.

The most dangerous threat to the moose is much smaller. Parasites often wipe out entire herds of moose. Ticks latch on to Moose as they trudge through high grasses. Thousands of ticks can be found on just one moose, which is deadly. In the Adirondacks tick related deaths in Moose are less common but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. As the climate warms from climate change, ticks survive and take on hosts late into October when normally they would be gone. Because Moose density is low in the Adirondacks compared to Maine, it is harder for tick borne illness to spread to multiple moose in a herd. However, this may just be the beginning of an unfortunate epidemic.

If you see our moose be sure to keep your distance as not to startle him. If the moose starts to approach you do not stand you ground, run away quickly. The moose won’t want to hurt you, he just likes to be alone. Once the moose feels safe he will stop charging. We encourage you to take pictures or just admire the beautiful moose. If you take any picture of the moose or tracks send them to us here at the VIC!