I went out scouting mountain game trails the other day, looking for main routes between drainages and along ridges and streams. I was on an obviously well-run trail through the Douglas fir that angled down off the top of the ridge toward the meadow below. I sat on a log to sketch the trail on my map.
Now, I don’t use GPS and all that electronic stuff. I do just fine with my old Sylva compass and a topo map, thank you. If I’m going to get lost, I prefer the good old-fashioned method.
Anyhow, there I was on my log, bent over, orienting map and compass and pinpointing the location on my map. I suddenly got the uncomfortable feeling I was being watched: not a nice feeling in the Montana forest 5 miles south nowhere.
Looking up, I discovered a bull moose standing 30 feet away in the trail, his trail, and studying this strange trespasser. He didn’t seem to know what I was. He looked more curious than angry and I sincerely wanted to keep it that way, at least as far as the angry part.
I gave him a nervous grin and a friendly little wave. He lowered his head and ambled forward like maybe he wanted to shake hands. Now, I didn’t want him angry at me, but this excessive friendliness was nearly as bad:what if he doesn’t like me once he gets to know me?
I waved my map at him and said, “Shoo!” Maybe not a good idea, but I was running out of options. His expression of friendly curiosity changed to one of disappointment, even hurt, at my rejection of his friendly advances. After giving me a long dejected look, he turned and trudged sadly back down the trail.