Watch out for the local wildlife

Bruce Thornton photographed this moose munching on apples near his family home south of Oroville. Thornton said the moose not only was eating the apples, but trying to eat the trees as well. Moose have been reported in several locations around the north county, as well as an increase in the elk sightings in the highlands. Bruce Thornton/submitted photo

Bruce Thornton photographed this moose munching on apples near his family home south of Oroville. Thornton said the moose not only was eating the apples, but trying to eat the trees as well. Moose have been reported in several locations around the north county, as well as an increase in the elk sightings in the highlands. Bruce Thornton/submitted photo

Imagine my surprise when I headed out toward Wenatchee a week ago today and nearly ran into the moose, or one that looked a lot like him, above. It was still nearly pitch dark out before 6 a.m. when I encountered said animal in the northbound lane as I passed by in the southbound lane. A few seconds sooner and we might have both been moose meat.

Managing Editor Gary DeVonIt was so dark out I could hardly believe my eyes as I continued south for a doctor’s appointment. I did a mental double check in my mind – really long legs, longer than a horse – yep… big body, big, big like one of the Budweiser horses, yep…. Bullwinkle-type antlers, not deer or elk – yep. Well, I was still trying to rectify in my mind what I saw when I pulled up for my appointment with a few minutes to spare. Moose don’t cross our highway, this isn’t Maine or something.

I wish I had had the time to stop and chase after it with my camera, but it was too dark and I was going to cut my appointment too close to not venture on.

Fortunate that same day Bruce Thornton captured several images of the moose munching in (or should that be munching a) a nearby orchard. The animal was not only eating the apples, but also trying to eat the trees, according to Thornton, not far from where his daughter and new son-in-law had some of their wedding photos taken.

Always look out for wildlife in Okanogan County, not only because it can be beautiful, but also can play havoc with your day and even your life if you hit it. Especially on a motorcycle, but this time I was in the pickup – but a moose, that’s a different story than hitting a deer. Just ask those who do have them regularly crossing the road, in states like Maine.

Anyway, my old hunting buddy, Greg Helm would probably be proud – I actually spotted something. Although nearly running over it with a truck probably doesn’t count.

About Gary DeVon

Gary DeVon is the managing editor of the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune and celebrated his 25th year at the newspaper in August 2012. He graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Communications - Print Journalism, with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a proud alumnus of Oroville High School. His family first settled in Okanogan County in the late 1800s. His parents are the Judy DeVon and the late Larry DeVon and he has two younger brothers - Dante and Michael. Many family members still call Oroville home. He is single with a grown daughter, Segornae Douglas and a young granddaughter, Erin.

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