I’m Sick and Tired of the Moose-cuses!

Moose crossingI’m convinced it’s a conspiracy. Or at least I was.

Here’s why:

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in “moose”-laden territory over the past few years. In these areas, I’ve seen quite a few “moose.”

Startled-looking heads mounted over blazing fireplaces, full-bodied taxidermed atrocities standing proud before campy places of business, and bronzed statues in public squares.

Souvenir store mugs, tees, and shot glasses emblazed with cartoon “moose” in a plethora of wacky situations bequeath all sorts of North Woodsy wisdom.

Never, EVER have I seen one in real life.

Moose head in Northern Ontario
See how fake looking they are?

Until recently, I was a believer in the myth of the “moose,” but now I realize that I’ve been hoodwinked by
a vast conspiracy.

Like the unicorn, snipe, mermaids, skunk apes and Altie, I believe the existence of moose is a massive hoax.

Think about it.

Moose are ridiculous looking. Even a Pegasus or a griffin carry characteristics seen in creatures that actually exist in nature. Frankly, I’d be less shocked to meet up with Medusa.

My theory on the origin of the moose myth is this:
Moose antler hockey stick rack
“Moose” antler hockey stick rack.

Canadians – being the wonderfully clever and playful people that they are – needed a way of entertaining themselves during the beautiful summer months when the onslaught of tourists invaded their country.

What could be more entertaining than sending a bunch of heat-avoiding folks from south-of-the-border on a wild moose chase? There’s a simple, elegant beauty to it all.

A moose bottle holder
Real world application for “moose”

Soon, a thriving industry developed. Fake heads for mounting, famous cartoons for watching, and trinkets to be sold. I’m fairly certain the continuation of the myth is what keeps many small towns afloat in the northern U.S. and Canada.

Because of this, I’ve had reservations about writing this post, I feel like I’m revealing a glimpse behind the magic curtain on a time-honored tradition, and possibly endangering the livelihood of many fine folks.

But I’m also really upset by all the times I’ve gotten my hopes up, only to hear the most ridiculous of Moose-cuses:

It’s the wrong time of the day
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone trudging though the wilderness on a tip from a Canadian, only to come back to civilization and have a different Canadian tell me that I was out there during the wrong time of day.

It’s the wrong time of the year
We had made a trek to snowy Vermont on a lead from a New Yorker who had “just seen” a moose up there. Upon arrival, we were told by the owner of our hotel that moose just aren’t around that area in the winter.

You just missed him
I have had more near-moose experiences than I can relate in one post. Someone’s kid or next-door neighbor has always just spotted one the hour before.

There’s been too much rain this year
Apparently, moose hate mud.

The new golf course has scared them all away
Ditto for golf, moose hate golfing.

They are really hard to spot in the woods
Seriously? It seems I’ve simply not noticed the massive, goofy-faced, trees-for-antlers

I’ve also had some pretty wild conversations:

With a drunk woman with whom we were sharing a cab in Winter Park, Colorado
We were chatting about moose with the cabby, he was relating fables about all of the times he had almost hit a moose with his cab. When I mentioned that I don’t believe in moose, the drunk woman we were dropping off on our way to the train station WENT OFF ON ME!
Never discuss politics, religion or moose in Winter Park.

With a dog sled musher in Whitefish Montana
Here’s where we learned that moose can swim. Yeah. Right.

Chip truck in Canada

With a chip truck lady who fed us poutine in Northern Ontario

ME: If moose are real, how come I’ve never seen one in a zoo?

Chip Truck Lady: Come to think of it, neither have I. I don’t think they’d like being in a zoo.

ME: And TIGERS do?

Chip Truck Lady: I guess not. I wonder why that is?

Yeah. I wonder.

The Newfoundland Addendum (and New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island!)

Moose sign in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada
The “moose” supposedly outnumber humans in
Gros Morne National Park,
so why didn’t we see one?

I was suckered back in to believing I might see a moose in Newfoundland – especially in Gros Morne National Park, where there is supposedly a 1.5 moose-to-human ratio.

Keeping uber-alert while driving the whole of the island, I spied moose fences in the western area, a sophisticated alert system in the central area and very scary looking warning signs in the National Park, but not a single sighting.

Just outside of the park, driving north, David suddenly yelled, “Look. LOOK! A moose!”BUT I may have stumbled on a clue.

I caught a fleeting glimpse of a massive creature standing off in the distance, stock still. Could I be wrong? Was that actually a moose? We immediately spun around, and turned back to get a closer look.

Moose collision sign in Newfoundland

There was nothing there.

What I did see, however, may break this myth wide open.

Parked on the side of the road was a black SUV. Two men, sweating profusely, were hurriedly stuffing something into the back of the vehicle.

A moose suit perhaps?

The Norway Addendum (a “moose” by any other name…)

Still don't believe in moose! At the Ski Jump Museum in Oslo, Norway
Sorry Norway, but I STILL doesn’t believe in moose!

At the Olympic Ski Jump museum in Oslo, I was made to believe there was a creature called an elg.

We traveled a huge expanse of Norway by train (all the way to above the Arctic circle in the wintertime!) after I saw this taxidermy-ed monstrosity.

Guess what? Didn’t see a one. I don’t believe in Elg, either.

The Alaska Addendum (or where I eat crow in a big way!)

I stand corrected. I apologize, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Moose exist.

It was less than a week upon our arrival in Anchorage that I spied my first moose while traveling along the Seward Highway south of town. AND he was swimming. I am now fully obsessed with moose, as demonstrated in our Instagram feed:

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Are you a moose-myth conspirator or a disbeliever like me? Do you accept my humble apology?

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40 thoughts on “I’m Sick and Tired of the Moose-cuses!”

  1. You’d probably enjoy a children’s book coming out next month called “Here’s the Deal… Moose aren’t Real!” . Very similar to your story!

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  3. You drank the Kool Aid! Here we were, kindred spirits in the moose-spiracy …my family totally enjoying your story as we for the millionth time searched for our knowingly non existent moose, only to find “they’ve” bought you out or you’ve been thoroughly hood winked!!!

  4. Was coast Canadians see them several times in a lifetime. Always scary (they charge cars, a rutting male is violent and one of the craziest angry animals in Canada during that time…he just. Wants. To. Find. A female. Leave him alone), they are dumb…very dumb. Walking or running out in front of cars. Cars hitting them is deadly as they so often flip into the car crushing them. Obsess sweet sweet virtual friend but do not approach and keep an eye at dawn/dusk and dark at th side of highways. Glad you saw one btw

  5. Are you in Alaska then? I’m here in Palmer and grew up here for the last 24 yrs, I know some amazing spots you can get to! I’m about to start my journey across the world and came across your website looking for traveling tips. Your story is wonderful, I’ve also grown up during my summers sailing the coast surrounding the Gulf of Alaska with my parents. If you want to tour the surrounding waters of Seward I have an in. 🙂

    1. Ha, come to think of it our highschool mascot is the moose. You’ll see moose in the valley way more than Anchorage. Spots for moose aren’t openly shared because they’re hunted. I’ve seen plenty of moose in my lifetime though and its funny I’ve never thought of it as something rare.

    1. I must admit that I am now a believer. Finally saw a moose (2 actually) up close and in person in Alaska. From what I can tell though, that must be the only place on earth that they exist.

  6. I agree. We always said: today the suit of the man is in the laundry or he has a day off. We’re from The Netherlands and have been 7 times in Canada (East & West part)and seen a moose two times.

  7. I agree, I got suspicious something was up a few years ago. I have never, ever seen a moose in Maine. Or in Canada. Despite numerous trips. To both. Despite looking and looking. Despite the protestations of locals that they’ve even had to put the car in reverse being chased down the road by an angry moose. Yeah. Right. They seem to be rarer than unicorns. Except in the gift shops. Do the accounting! Moose myth = $$$.

  8. I have seen moose, but never, ever in Maine. I don’t think they live there. I’ve even written poetry on the subject.

  9. I’m from NH, and I’ve seen moose a number of times. We would always see them in the same spots at the same times of year, but not every day. I’ve run into moose hiking, but they were very hard to spot unless you knew what you were looking for. The moose I saw hiking were almost always cows (female), which means they didn’t have antlers. I don’t think ANYONE would have luck finding moose on purpose without spending a significant amount of time studying them. Zoos don’t have them, no, but I’m given to understand that that is because they don’t live long in captivity (they don’t have a diet suitable for them).
    Those things said, I enjoyed your conspiracy theory 🙂

    1. While I certainly don’t doubt your honesty, I’m sure you think you’ve seen moose (my husband says he has too), my guess is you saw two guys in a moose suit, or a very large cow, or perhaps an alien being from another planet.

      I do like the moose-cuse about zoos though. 😉

  10. I hate to burst your bubble, but I’ve actually seen a moose with my own eyes. It was on a bus tour of Anchorage, Alaska and we were in the outskirts somewhere and the guide had the driver stop because there was a moose. They even let us off so we could see, but we were urged not to get too close because they have been know to charge—it was summer when there might have been baby moose (calves) nearby. (BTW, I had to google–“What do you call a baby moose?”)

    Hmmm. Not that I’m paranoid or anything, but do you think it might have been a fake moose which is why the guide said not to get too close? After all, I didn’t see any moose calves about–on the other hand, they’re smaller than their behemoth parents, so maybe they were hiding in the brush.

    1. Oh yes, I’ve heard the there’s moose in Alaska story. Even David claims to have seen them up there. Guess I’ll have to go up there myself to see if there’s any truth to these rumors.

  11. Ha! I have a friend who is the same way about elk. Come to think of it, I can’t recall a time where I have seen a moose. I’ll join your conspiracy theory then.

  12. YES! I recently saw a ¨Moose crossing¨ sign in Colorado where I have been many, many times without seeing a single moose. I was ecstatic and got my hopes up thinking maybe they had migrated southward. Nope. Not a single moose sighting. I was also once victim to the jackalope conspiracy. Dissapointment of my life.

  13. Well thank you. For years we have traveled up to New Hampshire around Columbus Day weekend with the hopes of seeing more than just colorful foliage. Moose…what Moose, we might as well been looking for BigFoot. Truthfully, that idea is probably less of a commercial hit as selling “stuff” about Moose is.
    Heavens knows where I would be w/o Bullwinkle and “WhatsamatterU?” filling in my educational gaps.
    Long Live the elusive MOOSE!

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