"If the game
warden was any good they'd go up north and catch him a lady. Bring her down
here for him, and they could settle down in this country. We'd find room for
be no favor for him."
come down here because he had trouble with his old lady, just said the heck
with it and cleared out, started south. He might have no interest at all in
seeing any more of old mamma from back up north."
the Kid struck out eastward, following a course that would take him into the
rough, tangled, semi-wilderness bottomlands of the Salt River. There were those
in the Clarence tavern who worried about what might happen to him there.
"Put it this way," one said. "There are some old boys working along
the Salt who don't generally let anything get by them alive—in season or out—if
you follow my meaning. If that moose gets out of there, he has some kind of a
The Missouri Kid
had already demonstrated that he was an animal blessed with exceptionally good
fortune, and he apparently had no trouble with poachers or anything else in the
Salt bottoms. In fact, he seems to have stayed there for almost three weeks
before moving on again, this time to the vicinity of Bowling Green, a community
60 miles southeast of Clarence and only 10 miles or so from the Mississippi.
There he was observed by Les Brown, a veteran Missouri conservation officer
responsible for that district. "There was a lot of talk about what had
become of the moose," Brown says of the immediate pre-Christmas period.
"It was about the 20th of December. A TV fellow from Quincy [on the
Illinois side of the Mississippi] called me and said they certainly would like
to get some pictures of the animal, and if I heard where he was, would I let
them know. Not a half hour after that, George Linehardt, who has a landfill
about a mile from where I live, called and said, 'Les, you aren't going to
believe it, but I've got a moose up here.'
"I went right
up and there he was. He looked to be in fine condition. He wasn't spooky at
all, but it's open up there and he didn't stay long. He trotted off toward the
woods. On the way, he sailed over a fence without any trouble. He just tucked
up his front feet like a jumping horse and cleared it with no
"How high was
"It was four
feet with two strands of barbwire on top."
Jumping such a
fence may not be an especially impressive physical feat for one of the Kid's
size and build, but behaviorally it gives pause for thought. A fence is not a
complicated device, but in the subboreal wilderness that is their customary
home, moose don't have to cope with such flimsy appearing but dangerous
barriers. Somewhere en route the Kid met his first fence and had to learn
something of its properties and what to do about them. Along with dealing with
multiflora roses, winter wheat and interstate highways, fence management is now
one of his known acquired skills. He may well have a good many others that
nobody has yet seen displayed. It's quite possible, because of the experiences
he has had and the adaptations he has had to make, that the Missouri Kid is the
best-educated as well as the most-traveled moose in the world.