It was certainly a first for Hamilton Township resident Wayne Ough, as a female moose took up residence in his barnyard on Tuesday, October 4, 2022.
“I got a nice big moose in my yard,” Ough said with a smile as a female moose lounged in his barnyard shortly before 1 p.m.
Ough grandfather built the barn in 1916 and the family has been in the area for so long the street is named after them.
Northumberland OPP received calls about a moose near the road on County Road 28 approximately three kilometres north of Dale Road in Hamilton Township, but they were told the moose had moved along.
It did – but not very far.
Ough’s farm is just off County Road 28.
In the beginning there were a few tense moments between Ough’s cattle and the moose.
The cattle wanted to come back into the barnyard, but there was a strange animal that seemed to be on their property.
Initially it was a stare down between the cows and the moose, but the cattle seemed to scare the moose. Then the cattle seemed to back off into the field again.
“They starred at awhile and then they thought they better come have a closer look and that ticked her off a little bit.”
All the while Ough was contacting the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to try and sort out what to do.
“I don’t want it to get out on the highway.”
The MNRF advised Ough to close the gates and hopefully the moose would stay in the barnyard until they gathered up specialized equipment and made their way down from Peterborough.
A number of people stopped along the road to take photos of the moose and admire the animal that is rarely seen this far south.
When the MNRF arrived, they spoke to Northumberland OPP about closing down County Road 28 in the area of the moose when they planned to tranquillize it.
At approximately 6:30 p.m., both directions of County Road 28 were shut down and Mike Elgar who is a MNRF Integrated Resource Management Technical Specialist loaded up the air powered tranquillizer gun and first practised a shot on a hay bale to line up the scope, then shortly after shot the moose.
Because the tranquillizer can take up to 15-minutes to take effect, the area around the barn was cordoned off, and County 28 in the area of the barn remained closed.
As the minutes passed, it was visible to see the moose was getting wobbly and finally collapsed in a field near the barn.
MNRF staff closely approached the animal. Because the injection had not fully incapacitated the animal, the moose was given another injection.
A short time later, MNRF staff worked on tagging the animal, then loading it into a trailer and giving it oxygen for the trip north.
At approximately 10:30 p.m. they arrived at a undisclosed location and the animal was given another needle to counter the effects of the tranquillizer.
Within another few minutes the animal was released and walked into a wooded area.
Ough said early on before the MNRF arrived, “I hope something turns out good,” and he got his wish. The animal was released and no one, including the moose was injured.
Ough said he has an electric fence around his property, but thought the moose may have come through an open gate to the south.