MILLINOCKET, Maine — First he was seen hanging around the softball fields at Stearns High School.
A few days later he was loitering between the town out-door pool and the hockey rink, then the town basketball courts, but he didn’t really become bothersome until his presence on the field delayed the start of a girls field hockey game.
“He” is a young moose on the loose.
While he hasn’t yet become a scourge, town officials say he has definitely become a pest since he started loitering around the high school during the past week and a half.
“He is either just a poor mis-guided beast or his mother told him to get an education at Stearns instead of just eating the flora,” Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said of the yearling.
Moose are hardly uncommon in the Katahdin region, which boasts some of the finest deer- and moose-hunting tracts in Maine, but they don’t typically make such a nuisance of themselves.
Town Recreation Department Director Frank Clukey suspects the yearling has been kicked out of the “nest” by his mother and doesn’t quite know what to do with himself.
“This is about the time of year that the young ones are forced to go out on their own,” Clukey explained.
The moose doesn’t seem ill or injured, Clukey and Conlogue said, just lonely and forlorn.
“He is more afraid of people than they are of him,” Clukey said.
Police Chief Donald Bolduc and other officers have shooed the moose away from Stearns several times, but he always seems to wander back onto campus. State game wardens have been dispatched, too, but never seem to get to the scene before the moose boogies off, Clukey said.
Anyone who sees the moose on public property is encouraged to stay away from him and to call 911 or 723-9731 if he seems to present a hazard to others or himself.