Cross Country Checkup

Moose and beavers and gators, oh my! Tell us about your most memorable wildlife encounter

Camping, cottages, long hikes — and possibly, a life-changing encounter with a wild beast. What was your unexpected encounter with a wild animal?
A moose makes its way through a nursery in Midway, B.C., Wednesday, May 16, 2018. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Wild animal encounters

By Duncan McCue

If those Hinterland Who's Who commercials rekindle a few memories for you, they reminds me of the time I nearly got flattened by a moose.

My dad and I were canoeing in northern Ontario and we were snaking back-and-forth in a shallow stream through a marsh.

As we slowly made our way, a hubbub erupted somewhere in the tall reeds — then abruptly stopped. We pressed on around the next bend.

That's when the bull moose appeared, charging through the water, heading directly for us. 

He was the size of a pickup truck with antlers as wide as the river and water frothing about his chest. He was moving in fast.

"Back-paddle! Back-paddle!" I screamed. There's no moose "passing lane" in a river. In a head-on collision, I knew who would lose.

My father didn't back-paddle. He grabbed an air horn, which he'd brought in case of bears, and gave it a blast. 

The moose stopped in his tracks. Our canoe bobbed in his bow waves. We stared at him. He stared at us — nostrils flaring, steam billowing out of his mouth.

Then, ever so slowly, he turned, and trotted into the woods, without looking back.

It's not often you get so close to a wild animal that you can almost smell it's breath which is why it's such an indelible memory for me.


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