We are in the middle of moose hunting season around here. This is not my favourite time of the years. I am not in favour of hunting, particularly the Moose. Hunting moose is part of the rural culture in the North, now closely regulated for sustained hunting. While wild game is no longer a major source of meat for families, traditionally people like to get some moose meat as a special treat. With luck, I usually have a friend give me a little. It is a special treat to have someone give you a tourtiere in which moose meat was used.
The moose is the largest of the deer family around here. The white tailed deer plentiful not far from here have been moving into our are for a decade or so. The government is trying once again to reintroduce the elk. There are forest caribou north west of here. The large herds of caribou are hundred of miles into Northern Quebec.
The moose is the king of the boreal forest. They are often ghost like giants moving though and quietly eating browse or standing in the marshes feeding on water plants. Bulls are often solitary figures while small groups of cows and calves can be seen together.
They also can come crashing through the forest and do you harm, particularly when the rut is on. The moose is the most dangerous animal in the North., not the gentle black bear or the shy wolf. There are many encounters between moose and vehicles on the highways, they can be deadly for the moose and the driver of the vehicle.
There have been those who have tried to domesticate the moose. It is now illegal in Ontario for a private person to have poccession of a wild indigenous animal, which makes the picture below even more incredible.
This is the biggest bull moose I have ever seen. They get this big in Alaska. The fact that someone could raise and train a moose to harness to skid out logs is quite reemarkable and unbelievable.
In fact, this picture is probably a hoax. a clever photoshop job. I first saw in on a blog where the person suggested her father trained this moose to skid wood in British Columbia. The wood is too small . The logs look more like jack pine or black spruce for firewood or pulp. It has also been suggested it is from Northern Quebec where there is lots of black spruce and the writing on the coveralls is "Les Chevaux d' Abitibi" (a town in Quebec.) It has also been claimed that the picture is from St Joseph Island, near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. The best story is that it is from Maine. http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_work_moose_in_harness.htm It is a good story, but maybe not true. Just because a picture is worth a thousand words does mean it is true.! Still a great picture. Got my attention.
Moose have been trained to harness from time to time. Years ago, when Winters were long and cold and isolated, individual have tried and succeeded. They begin by hand raising orphaned calves. This old picture of a team of moose pulling a sleigh of cordwood is the real thing.
Somehow a moose with a saddle on it is not as majestic as a horse. This wild animal seems demeaned standing there. Even more so with a rider mounted. I would suspect their backs are not as strong as a horse.