“After God was done making everything else,” so goes an old New England saw, “He took the leftover parts and made the moose.”
That about gets it right when it comes to the large, gangly creatures who can often be seen along northern New Hampshire’s wooded roadsides.
The best places to spot a Bullwinkle J moose? The Kancamagus Highway (Route 112) is a great place to spot a moose, as are the notches of Crawford and Pinkham (U.S. Route 302 for Crawford Notch and U.S. Route 16 for Pinkham Notch).
GUIDED TOURS: Those who would rather leave the driving to others will want to take a guided tour with MWV Moose Bus Tours, North Conway‘s Moose Safari.
The company boasts a success rate of 95 to 96 percent in moose sightings, April through September. Because October historically has been the lowest for sightings, the company starting in October 2012 will change its departure time for later in the evening.
“An increase in moose sightings should be the result,” notes the company’s website,www.mwvmoosetours.com.
Moose Safari’s guarantee? “If no moose sighting, then you will receive a rain check pass valid through the end of the next season.”
MWV Moose Bus Tours LLC was founded in 2007 by owner/operator Elwyn Wheaton. Born in North Conway, Wheaton is a lifelong resident of Mount Washington Valley and has a well-rounded knowledge of the area. He welcomes questions during the tour.
He says he started in business to be of service to visitors “who want to see a moose but who have concerns about driving strange roads after dark, especially when there are 900-pound plus moose about,” notes the website.
“Given that so many people coming to the valley want to see a moose, providing tours seemed to be the thing to do,” says Wheaton.
According to the website, each journey includes an on-board moose video showing as passengers relax in the company’s 26-passenger, air-conditioned and heated Moose Bus as participants travel into “Moose Country.”
Although it is illegal to use spotlights after dark, the company says it is allowed to use flood lights and spotlights to find and view moose.
The company says the Moose Tour is “meant to provide three-plus hours of entertainment,” and has an average of more than five moose per night through Labor Day. When demand requires, a second 22-passenger bus is used. Boarding is based on earliest reservations, who board first.
MWV Moose Bus Tours depart from Norcross Circle, 2660 White Mountain Highway in North Conway Village, next to the Conway Scenic RailroaVictorian train station, mid May through late October.
Departure times vary from 7:30 p.m. in May, June and October, to 7 p.m. in July, August and September because twilight changes through the season.
(Note: Departure time should be confirmed when making your reservation before 5 p.m. at 662-3159.)
“The best time to see a moose is between dusk and dawn, so we attempt to get into prime moose country right at sunset, or later.
Because of cool mountain temperatures, we recommend that you bring a sweater or coat,” notes Wheaton.