Part of Mizzy Lake Trail is on an old railway bed, and where it passes through ponds and lakes it offers possibly the best spot in the park to see wildlife. As I approached the far edge of one of the ponds, I surprised a large cow moose that had been feeding on water-shield and other aquatic plants. By backing up a bit I was able to get some awesome video as the moose fed. She seemed completely unconcerned with my presence, barely looking at me and with no concerning body language, at least not that I could notice.
At the end of this video I, not surprisingly, turned off the recording and started backing away. As I did so, the moose followed, and then sped up to a steady trot towards me. At this point I took off in the other direction as fast as I could, wishing I had kept in better shape! The moose continued to follow me down the railway bed for about 200 metres, while I ditched everything I had on the side of the trail and continued several hundred metres further. Here, with adrenaline flowing and heart pounding, I waited for about twenty minutes before returning to find the moose gone.
I have never heard of a similar experience away from the mating season (nobody has ever been killed by a moose in Algonquin besides road accidents) and am not entirely sure what the explanation is. I’ve come up with a couple possibilities:
- The moose had recently lost her calf and was crazy with grief and confusion (it sounds unlikely, but has been known to happen)
- She was surprised to see me on the path and immediately tried to scare me away.
- The moose has been approached overly closely before and has lost her fear of people.