Many of my friends know that a ‘life list’ goal of mine is to spot a moose in the Adirondack back country while canoeing. Like many tourists, I have seen moose in Yellowstone National Park. I have seen moose while backpacking in the Teton Mtns. Last year we saw one sleeping in the shade while hiking in Nova Scotia. But these don’t count. Seeing one from the car doesn’t count.
News this week has me encouraged. According to DEC officials the NYS moose population totals roughly 500 moose, all of them in northern New York. This is up from an estimated 50-100 a decade earlier. In the 1980s, there were only a handful of sporadic sightings. I can remember tromping around the woods near Remsen with Dave Parker in the mid-80s hoping to make a spotting of an early immigrant moose – with no luck. Much of the recent growth is attributed to reproduction, not just migration. I remember a conversation with a DEC ranger a few years ago who had just returned from a conference in Vermont (a state which went through the same moose re-population process). The ranger had been told a population of ~200 creates a healthy breeding population – versus the bachelor males which comprise the early immigrants.