Since then, I've found plenty of tracks and watched several moose, both in the wild and in the middle of town. My first moose encounter occurred on Fish Pond in the St. Regis Canoe Area, when I observed a bull moose walking in the shallow water along the shoreline. It was a huge animal and like a first kiss, I'll never forget the moment.
I've seen a number of moose since that time, crossing the highway, wallowing in a marsh or swimming in the lake. However, my closest encounter occurred in the middle of Lake Placid village in the fall of 2009.
I was hosting a German photographer on a photo safari for birds. We had just departed the local marina on Lake Placid and we were headed out of town, when I noticed a big female or "cow" moose in the garden of a local home. We stopped, of course, and as the photographer fumbled furiously through his gear to find an appropriate camera lens, I captured several images with an inexpensive point and shoot camera.
Although he owned all sorts of telescopic lens, they were too powerful to capture a moose at a distance of less than 10 yards. Sadly, he never got a shot.
When moose first began returning to New York in the early 1980s, they were considered an oddity. They typically remained rather elusive creatures until their breeding season rolled around in the fall. Back then, the wide-ranging creatures would usually be found in local farm pastures, chasing after cattle, with amorous intent.
At the time, moose were so unusual we gave them pet names, such as "Big Richard." But, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State moose population is currently estimated at more than 500 animals and growing.
In towns such as Newcomb, Indian Lake, Speculator or Inlet, the sight of moose is no longer considered an unusual occurrence, especially during the early fall when bull moose will cover upwards of 75 miles of territory in the search for a mate.