It has been crazy spring here in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, as I write this there is a spring snowstorm pounding the western U.P. The weather, 70 degrees one day, 32 the next, has much of the wildlife on the move across the peninsula. Particularly the moose. There have been several sightings most of which are in Marquette and Baraga Counties.
Sightings near Republic have been reported with several seen along the highway. The one featured on this page was seen on 41 west of Michigamme. This area is not a surprise since that is where they were originally planted. In 1985 and ’87 Michigan planted moose north of Michigamme near the McCormick Wilderness Tract. I know because I was there. They were brought from Ontario with the help of the Safari Club International. 40 years later, we are currently seeing the results of this ambitious project. For more information about the original moose lifts I highly recommend the videos at the bottom.
Moose seem to have no fear and will cross a road at any given point and they were never taught to look both ways. There have been reports of moose car collisions. I can’t imagine having one of those monsters come flying into my windshield. They are quite tall and that is where they will land. This is a lot different than hitting a deer. A moose can easily weigh a thousand pounds.
When I encountered mine on April 29th, I was driving down U.S. 41 heading to Houghton when I saw cars pulled over along the side of the road on both sides. Thinking there might be wreck ahead I slowed down for safety. As I drove by, I saw the young bull moose in the pictures foraging in a small collection of cattails. He was doing his best to ignore the attention.
Eventually he got fed up and began wandering up the road, right past me, at one point he was only 10 feet away. It was then he decided to go across the highway, walking. Fortunately he made it across without incident, but there were moments when he could have become road kill.
Though the moose have branched out across the Upper Peninsula, between Marquette and L’anse going north and south, is where the population is the heaviest. Some places in the U.P. are claiming to be the “moose capitol,” but where I’ve stated above, is where your best chances of seeing one is. Also where your best chances are of seeing one in the road and hitting it. There are estimated to be just under 500 moose in Marquette, Baraga and Iron Counties whereas there are only about 100 in Chippewa, Luce and Alger Counties. Beware, the moose are on the loose and they are truly a sight to behold.
For more information check out these links: I highly recommend the videos at the bottom.