BROOKSIDE - It took some time and patience, but the Department of Natural Resources coaxed a female moose back into the woods after it wandered into farmers' fields on Brookside Road yesterday.
At about 5:30 a.m. David Johnson went out to feed his horses and was shocked to see one of them and the moose facing each other.
"They were about 25 feet apart. My horse was on one side of the fence and the moose was on the other side and they were just staring at each other," said Johnson.
He's not the only person in the neighbourhood who saw the moose. Department of Natural Resources technician/forest resources member Jim MacNaughton arrived on scene at about 8 a.m. after calls were made by area residents reporting the sighting.
"We don't get many of these calls. Two years ago we had a moose in September at River Breeze corn maze (in Onslow)," said MacNaughton, who spent all morning waiting while the moose stayed in a field an estimated 400 to 500 feet from Brookside Road. On the other side of the field was Highway 104.
"We'd get within 100 feet and she'd trot off. It's a balancing act because it's a wild animal and you don't know what it will do ... we wanted to keep her stress level low and didn't want her to bolt to the highway."
A tranquilization team was brought in by mid-afternoon after the moose remained far out in the field. Ultimately "we decided we couldn't get close enough to get a dart in her" and DNR herded the animal through the fields.
"She jumped a fence from one field to another but we were able to keep within a couple hundred feet of her and got her back to the (Brookside) road," said MacNaughton.
Traffic was stopped while the animal was directed across the road and back into the woods.
"The public was not in danger ... we made noise and honked horns to get her to keep moving and back into the woods."
More than half a dozen DNR officials were part of the project to get the moose safely back into its natural habitat. It took about an hour to direct the animal from the field to the woods.