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GOIN' SOUTH
Bil Gilbert
June 11, 1979
Call him the Marco Polo of moosedom. Two years ago he left his range in Minnesota and moseyed down into Missouri, puzzling zoologists while entertaining the citizenry
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June 11, 1979

Goin' South

Call him the Marco Polo of moosedom. Two years ago he left his range in Minnesota and moseyed down into Missouri, puzzling zoologists while entertaining the citizenry

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"Maybe the informant was just testing our agent to see what his reaction would be."

According to Schwartz, the Kid was last seen in the flesh about mid-February when he crossed a state highway heading into the roundwood country of northern Pike County. However, there was later circumstantial evidence, as incontestable as a trout in a milk pail, as to his subsequent whereabouts and activities. About six weeks after the last sighting, Marion Traynor, the chief operator of the Louisiana waterworks, was scouting around in the woods in preparation for the opening of the spring season on turkey gobblers, birds he loves to hunt with a muzzle-loading black-powder shotgun. In a thicket near an old quarry northeast of Bowling Green, Traynor came upon a set of moose antlers, the halves of which were lying within 10 feet of each other. "I have a little schooling in conservation and I own a lot of outdoor books," said Traynor. "So with all the stories of this moose, and knowing from reading what they should look like. I knew what these were right off. There were signs he had been lying around in that spot for a few days."

Traynor measured the antlers (they were 41 inches tip to tip with a seven-inch skull space) and then took them to Jeff Pennock, another state wildlife biologist who resides in the area.

There the matter rests for the moment. The consensus among mooseologists is that the Kid is in the ravine and brush country that covers much of the area between Louisiana and Hannibal—lying doggo as he did during his antlerless periods in Iowa in 1977 and in northeast Missouri in 1978.

"There are places in those bottoms that we call Africa," says Brown, the veteran game warden who knows the country as well as anyone. "A moose or anything else could lay up in there for a long time without being seen."

That is a reasonable assumption. Beyond it there remains considerable speculation about what the Missouri Kid will do and where he'll go next, say in the fall. One fanciful theory is that his ultimate objective is to get to New Orleans for Mardi Gras and that he was just waiting around in Pike County for the police strike to be settled in that city. While this might seem beyond the realm of possibility, the Kid has already stretched a good many realms beyond what had previously been regarded as possible. In a technical zoological way, he has expanded the known range of his species farther than any other moose. Indisputably he has enlarged the folklore of the true-blue classic American Sensation. Even more significantly, if one cares to pursue the subject, the Missouri Kid has greatly deepened the always intriguing mystery that has to do with the inner world of other species.

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