Friday, July 10, 2009

don't make a moose-stake

Moose. The word itself conjures images of a massive bulk of muscle that no one wants to mess with. It's a nickname you'd give one of those six-foot-high, four-foot-wide football players that make up the brick wall of a defense line on Super Bowl Sunday.

The amazing thing is that these 1000 pound herbivores wander around the bush peacefully nibbling water lily roots and tender green poplar shoots, and normally wouldn't harm a flea. Until they step in front of a minivan travelling 100 km an hour, like one did the other night.

The Ontario government tried to raise awareness about the importance of avoiding such intimate contact with these largest members of the deer family. "Moose on the Loose" signs appeared across the region, and Upsala firefighters helped erect one about 25 km west of the village. Interestingly enough, the moose seem to like the sign. We've had three or four moose hits along that stretch of road, and an unknown number of near misses. One of them was our pumper on the way to a call, with me at the wheel. It was a stormy night a few years ago, and just as I passed the sign, a black blur caught my attention on the shoulder of the road. I missed him by a hand breath. A few minutes later we arrived at the scene to find a mid-sized car in the ditch with the roof peeled off. The car and the moose were both finished, but the driver got off pretty easy, considering he nearly had the long-legged, furry behemoth in his lap.

The other night when my pager went off, I wasn't surprised that the call was roughly 25 km west of the village. Another collision in moose lane. I'm beginning to wonder if we should move the sign closer to Upsala. I'm sure the moose would find it eventually, but at least the collisions would happen closer to home.

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