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Where the wild moose are OR Where are the wild moose?

It’s that time of year again. People are getting outside more; the animals are getting more active and photos of exciting wildlife sightings are getting posted at a rapid pace. Especially pictures of our iconic symbol of the Canadian outdoors – the moose.

“Here’s the moose we saw driving through Algonquin!” 
“This is the moose that was hanging out around the lake we paddled last weekend!”
“This mother and baby moose were so close we could almost touch them!”
“I can’t believe it – another moose!”
“This is the moose that had his lunch in our front yard today!”

Sure. I get it. Seeing moose in the wild is exciting.  At least, according to the people posting pictures it is.  But I’m not so sure, because.... I have never really seen one.


I know.  It's terribly embarrassing.  I'm a Canadian girl who camps in moose country and I've never, ever seen one clear enough to say with aloof confidence, "Oh yah. I’ve seen a moose, eh".

I almost feel un-Canadian. Like a poser. Or even worse, a hoser.

Believe me - I have tried to see a moose.  We have hiked the right trails, driven the right highways, and paddled the right lakes. I have been out in the early morning mist and again at dusk. I have read about on their habitat. I have learned what they like to eat and where they like to eat it. 

But it hasn’t worked. And now I am a little bit obsessed with spotting a moose. I peer out the window of the truck, hoping to see one. My camera is always at my side, ready to take the shot that will prove I’ve seen a moose. Every trip we take to moose country I repeat the mantra "I want to see a moose". Over and over.  I've even resorted to calling out to them in desperation.  "Mooooosssseeeeee...... here moooossssseeeee.....". It does not work. 

I actually have had a couple of close encounters, but deep in my heart I know they are not close enough to fully qualify as a true moose-sighting. 

About 20 years ago, while driving through New Brunswick in the middle of a very dark, very rainy night my friend saw a moose at the side of the highway. She was driving and I was snoozing. She smacked my arm and said “Moo....moo…MOOSE”. But by the time I was awake enough to understand what was happening, the beast had moved off into the forest and all I saw through my sleepy eyes and the rain was a shadow moving deep into the trees.

Once, while on our way to the comfort station at Algonquin’s Mew Lake campground we walked right past a moose calmly munching in the bush.  We stood and peered at the creature.  But it was dark and the most we could really see was a shadowy silhouette. We knew it was a moose. We could tell he was big.  But I really couldn’t make out the gleam in his eye or the colour of his fur.  Close, but not quite.

It has become quite a joke for Alex and Emma.  They tease me. A lot. For Christmas, Alex bought me moose scent.  You know, the kind hunters spray out of a can to attract their prey. 

The last couple of trips we took in moose country were filled with Emma and Alex's cries of  “MOOSE!” and  “There’s a moose over there!” There was no moose.  There has never been a moose - only fits of giggles from them and frustration for me.

Last year, we spent an afternoon geocaching our way around the side roads and logging lanes surrounding Grundy Lake Provincial Park.  At one point, after finding a geocache at the side of the road, Alex checked his rear-view mirror to see if he could pull a U-turn and head back in the direction we came. 

“MOOSE!” he said.
 “Whatever.”  I said.
 “No! Really! There’s a moose!” he said.
 I ignored him.
 “I’m serious! Turn around!” he said.

So slowly, reluctantly, I turned around. It was just in time to see the hindquarters of a moose disappear into the forest beside the road.

Alex saw it walk right across the road behind us.  In full daylight.

Seeing the hind-end of a moose does not equal a full moose sighting, in my books.

So here we are at the start of another camping season.  And once again we’ll find ourselves in moose country.  Will this be the year that I spot my moose? Stay tuned…. Because if I do see one this year, you can believe that EVERYONE will know about it.

(And for all of you lucky moose-spotters, keep posting those pictures.  Your photos are the only proof I have that the moose is a real creature, and not some elaborate figment of everyone’s imagination!)


  1. After spotting the moose at night at the Algonquin’s Mew Lake campground, I bought the Fenix PD35 XM-L2 (U2) flashlight. The Fenix throws a hot 850 lumens for distance of 607ft!

  2. I saw 3 moose in heught of black fly seaon in Algonquin. Was actually first wk of June at dusk. Drive a couple of gravel roads and watch for them in ditches oe ponds. Don't give up hope. Wishing you a bit of moose luck.

  3. Loved reading your story here. Long time Algonquin fan, my wife and I go up mostly on our own now as kids are all older. We usually hit the park 3 times a year. Spring, summer and for fall colours.

    We've seen lots of moose, but also been shut out of moose sightings on some trips, mostly mid summer trips.

    Glad from your most recent posting, you've finally gotten to officially consider yourself as having seen a moose. We were up long weekend and saw a deer, 5 moose, beaver, otter, fox, and a number of bird species which my wife knows a lot more about than I do, but I remember once was a king fischer.

    Last fall on out trip for fall colours, at night I saw a huge barred Owl. About 2 years ago, I saw a huge Grey Owl.

    Now that you've seen the elusive moose, I suggest you set your sights on an Owl in Algonquin Park. Lots there!


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