Young moose trots through downtown Easthampton
Carrie Hague said she was surprised to see a moose walk through her neighbor's yard on Mount Tom Avenue Saturday afternoon. PHOTO COURTESY OF CARRIE HAGUE.
EASTHAMPTON — Jaws dropped and heads turned Saturday when a young moose trotted through backyards and down sidestreets in the area of Holyoke and Clark streets for about half an hour just after noon.
Though police and neighbors said the moose was not fully grown, photographs and videos taken by residents show that the leggy animal was as tall as the SUVs he passed by, and Carrie Hague of Mount Tom Avenue said she watched it step easily over a 4-foot fence in her neighbors’ backyard.
“I’ve been all over New England but I’ve never seen a moose, so to see it here was a shock,” Hague said Sunday.
Police Sgt. Dominic Serino said he has responded to calls for escaped horses, cows and other large animals, but this was the first time in his nearly 30 years on the force that he has dealt with a moose.
He said the department received the first of several reports about the moose at 12:21 p.m. “We got a call that there was a moose running down Franklin Street so I and a couple other officers went and tried to get it moving away from the center of town,” Serino said.
In the half-hour that followed, it walked through yards and streets including Briggs, Maple, and Clark streets and Mount Tom Avenue. Finally, at the end of Mutter Street, the moose headed into the woods that are part of the 9-acre Brickyard Brook Conservation Area. On the other side of the conservation area is East Street and then Mount Tom, from where Serino guessed the moose had come.
Hague said she was driving to her home on Mount Tom Avenue Saturday afternoon when she saw the street was blocked by a police cruiser and an officer. “He said, ‘there’s a moose loose,’” she said.
She got to her home by looping around Cherry Street and said she could see the moose between the houses and trees in her neighbors’ yards. She and her neighbors were curious to check it out, but police warned them to stay back so the large animal wouldn’t run them over.
“I went back to my house and then he was right in my neighbor’s backyard,” she recalled. “He stepped over their fence and headed to Clark Street.”
According to the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, May is one of the best months for moose sightings because it is when the year-old moose leave their mothers before they give birth again.
The moose spotted in Easthampton appeared to have no antlers. The division’s website said male moose start to grow antlers in March. A full-grown moose averages 6 feet tall at the shoulder, with legs 3½ to 4 feet in length, the website said.
Serino said the moose looked healthy and was not too bothered by the police officers trying to herd it out of the residential neighborhood.
“He was just making his way,” Serino said.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.