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Moose Fest to highlight calling contest

A bull moose browses foliage at Helldiver Pond in Moose River Plains. Maps of the area will be available at the local Chamber of Commerce during the Great Adirondack Moose Festival, Sept. 24 and 25.

A bull moose browses foliage at Helldiver Pond in Moose River Plains. Maps of the area will be available at the local Chamber of Commerce during the Great Adirondack Moose Festival, Sept. 24 and 25. Carolyn Belknap

— Barks, bellows and grunts. Moos and moans. With a range like that, contestants at the town's first-ever moose-calling imitation competition have their work cut out for them.

Slated for Saturday, Sept. 24 from 2 to 4 p.m., the calling contest is the big new event at the Great Adirondack Moose Festival, said Brenda Valentine, one of the event organizers.

“It's a hoot,” she said.

It's actually more like a foghorn, said Ed Kanze, an author and nature guide who'll judge the competition.

The low ululations make the sound travel, especially helpful when the beasts navigate foggy autumn forests.

He's joked that the grand prize for the best moose mime will be enticing one of the animals out of the forest. Though it's silly to think it might happen, he said, it's not completely impossible.

Mating season for these massive mammals, which can reach 1,200 pounds and six feet at the shoulder, is ramping up along with the festival. Males are the loudest, said Kanze, and at their most creative when luring potential mates.

He's busy with homework studying the noises, and he doesn't think that the moose's calls are too low for human females to imitate.

“We'll make sure we have gender fairness in the event,” he said.

His criteria for judging will include accuracy, but spirit is important, too. The winner will be someone who takes the contest seriously enough to sound like a moose and is enthusiastic enough to make the proceedings enjoyable.

“I'd like this to be fun, I'd like there to be an element of comedy,” Kanze said.

The festival, in its second year, will run Sept 24 and 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m each day. Valentine said the first year set the bar high.

“We were overwhelmed with tourists coming into the area to possibly see a moose,” she said.

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