Photo by Whitehorse Star
The Whitehorse Star, June 20, 1990
Moose Calf 'Adopts' Man as its Mother
Curt Mintz huddled in the bush with his two dogs for 20 minutes waiting for the cow moose to attack.
"There's no way you can come between a cow and a calf and live,” Mintz said in an interview Monday. "I'd rather meet a grizzly.”
But there was no attack.
Instead, Mintz became the adopted mother to a three-day-old female moose calf that now lives at the Yukon Game Farm on the Takhini Hot Springs Road.
Mintz came upon the moose on June 2 while strolling through the woods about four kilometres from his cabin on the Alaska Highway near Whitehorse.
"I heard it first, and I thought it was a bear, so I just dived down and grabbed the two dogs and held them.
"I knew whatever it was didn't hear me, ‘cause it was making too much noise.
"When I saw it was calf sitting there, I was more worried. I thought, ‘I came between a cow and a calf, I'm in really big trouble,' I stayed down there for about 20 minutes.
"I circled around the thing and saw it was a calf moose. So then I snuck up on it and within 10 feet, it heard me. It started crying just like a little baby.”
That's when he realized it was alone.
The calf was probably a twin and left behind by its mother, Mintz said. If the mother had been shot, he said, the calf would have stayed with the mother and the hunters would have gotten it.
"It wouldn't have lasted overnight. There's no doubt about it. It's like Grand Central Station out there for coyotes.”
He stroked the calf, grabbed it, put it on his shoulders and marched four kilometres back to his cabin with it.
"After about maybe an hour or two, it figured I was its mother. If I walked away from it, it would start crying.”
The calf wasn't afraid of people, he said.
"There was no fright in it whatsoever.” It liked his dogs, his friend's cat, and gave his guests big moose-lip kisses.
It would cry to eat, lay down, and go outside because it wanted Mintz to be closer to it.
It was three days old, so it couldn't follow him far. It would walk for a while, then stop and cry when Mintz continued.
"I entertained thoughts at one point in time of keeping it,” Mintz said. But he decided it would be better for the moose if it went to the game farm. Danny Nowlan, owner of the Yukon Game Far, is an old friend of Mintz's father.
"It was quite hungry. In fact, it was on the verge of starvation. It should be (fed) goats' milk, but I wasn't really to hip on raising a baby moose.”
It's drinking goat's milk now at the farm. In fact, the farm has a goat just to feed the moose. A sort of wet-nurse of the animal kingdom.
Nowlan has had a bull moose for about 10 years, said Mintz, and he hasn't be able to find a cow.
So, this could be the beginning of a Yukon moose family bred in captivity.
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