A bull moose browses foliage at Helldiver Pond in Moose River Plains. Maps of the area will be available at the local Chamber of Commerce during the Great Adirondack Moose Festival, Sept. 24 and 25.
The Moose Fest date is mooving closer, with a second year of festivities planned for Sept. 24 and 25.
Ed Reed, wildlife biologist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, will give a talk on the habits and lives of the beasts, “Moose on the Loose in the Adirondacks.”
Reed said that the park’s population of moose increases at about 15 percent annually. The animals began coming back to the area in the early 1980s, and current estimates put their numbers at 800 to 1,000 parkwide.
Moose are fun to watch, but Reed warned that they’re not as congenial as they might seem.
“They’re not friendly, they’re unafraid,” he said.
“They kind of look dopey and slow, but they’re actually a lot more dangerous than bears,” said Reed. More people die from moose encounters than bear encounters in the grizzly-populated Alaskan wilderness, said Reed.
Stay a good 100 yards away from the critters when spotted in the wild, suggested Reed. “Fifty yards is getting a little close.”
Figuring out the best way to see a moose can be tricky, said Reed. Many moose sightings are in private wilderness areas, like logging properties, making amateur sightings difficult.
For public access, Hamilton County and the Moose River Plains are about as good a chance as hopeful giant-gazers will get to spot the burly brutes, said Reed.
The moose are more active this time of year, said Reed, as it’s the animals’ breeding season. Be careful not to approach male moose at this period of heightened hormones, he said.
They don’t congregate in public areas often, but when they do see people, moose often act like they just aren’t interested, Reed said.
As the biggest animals in the park, they have no natural predators and they aren’t hunted by man, so they usually adopt an unthreatened attitude.
Just watch out for mother moose and their calves, and the testosterone-fueled rutting males.
In the midst of the Festival, a new event will not so quietly march in and take its place. It’s a Moose-Calling contest, the first ever to be held in the Adirondack Mountains and one of only a few staged around the country. Naturalist and author Ed Kanze will be the contest master of ceremonies and one of the official judges.
This festival will mark the first Indian Lake Moose-Calling Contest, where contestants do their best to imitate the moos and barks of the animals.
There will also be many child- and family-friendly activities and vendors around town for the weekend.
For more information, visit the Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce online at www.indian-lake.com, call 518-648-5636 or 518-648-5112 or visit on Facebook at Great Adirondack Moose Festival.