Thunder Bay

Curious moose crashes ice-fishing outing on Thunder Bay-area lake

A curious moose that got a "little too close for comfort" crashed the ice-fishing trip of a Thunder Bay man and his dad northwest of the Ontario city.

The yearling cow followed Owen and his dad Doug Steele around, and sniffed their lawn chairs

The cow moose sniffed the lawn chairs of Owen and his dad Doug Steele on Saturday before making its way to where they were ice fishing northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont. (Submitted by Owen Steele)

A moose with a mind of its own turned the ice-fishing expedition of a man and his dad into a unique wildlife experience northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont.

On Saturday afternoon, Owen Steele and his dad Doug were on one last fishing trip, to a frozen Boreal Road lake.

Curious cow moose visits anglers

1 year ago
Duration 0:35
This yearling cow moose hung out with Thunder Bay angler Owen Steele and his father for more than 90 minutes on Saturday April 3, 2021.

Fishing was slow, so Owen decided to walk to the shore, where there was a creek with some open water.

"I decided to go take a look around the creek," he told CBC Thunder Bay. "I noticed there was a whole bunch of moose tracks near it, like all different sizes. I said to my dad, 'It is like a moose factory,' as it looked like they were coming here every day to get water."

I didn't necessarily feel like I was in danger at any point, but I didn't want to let it get too close to me either.- Owen Steele about the moose he and his dad encountered while ice fishing

Steele and his father continued to fish for another 10 minutes, then heard sounds in the bush and a call.

"I said to my dad, 'That's a moose for sure,'" said Owen. "And we were sitting right along the bush out of the wind in our chairs, so I suggested we get up and move out of the way in case this was a big moose walking in the bush."

He said the moose —  a cow — peeked around a tree for several minutes and started to wander out onto the ice, so he began videotaping its journey.

This yearling cow moose hung out with, and followed around, the Steeles for an extended period of time. (Submitted by Owen Steele)

Owen said it looked as if the moose was heading to the edge of the creek to drink some water, but ended up falling through the ice. Only knee deep in water, it quickly made it out and back onto the ice.

"We thought it might have been injured because it looked like it was limping on the back leg for a while," said Owen. "But then after awhile, it seemed to be fine."

Moose still loose even with noise

The moose then walked over to the lawn chairs the two anglers had on the ice, and Owen said it was "sniffing around."

Then, the animal started coming toward Owen's father, slowly but deliberately, which was unusual — but it wasn't enough to stop the young angler from grabbing a fishing line that was getting a bite.

"I stopped video recording and ran to get the fish," said Owen. "So my dad started taping. The moose started following him as he was backing up. It was following him at the same speed he was going."

Owen said the moose wouldn't go near the toboggan and ice auger, so his father backed up toward that area because it was getting "a little bit close for comfort."

The moose kept hanging around and the anglers kept fishing.

Owen said no amount of noise seemed to scare it off. After a time, the moose began walking toward Owen.

Owen Steele says the moose would not come near the toboggan or ice auger. (Submitted by Owen Steele)

"That's where I have the video of it following me around, and I was actually making my way across to the other side of the lake backwards. ... it was following me and I was speeding up, and it was speeding up with me. So then my dad told me to come back towards the toboggan."

No sniff, no problem

Owen said the moose seemed to want to smell them, but finally realized they weren't going to let it get close, and wandered off.

He said it stayed around the area for another hour or so, walking in the bush, and figured the animal stayed there for nearly two hours in total.

Owen said the cow was likely a yearling, but still a large animal. But despite the lengthy amount of time he and his father have spent in the bush, neither had ever seen a moose behave like that.

"I didn't necessarily feel like I was in danger at any point, but I didn't want to let it get too close to me either."

To watch the full video posted on YouTube, click here.