Baxter SP - Wildlife Spotting

Millinockett, Maine

Moose, cow and calf, on Kidney Pond

Much of Baxter State Park is a Wildlife Sanctuary. Two border sections, one North and one South, allow hunting. But in most of the park, the animals roam free and unmolested. This creates an exciting opportunity to see many mammals foraging and generally going about their business without fear of your presence. While the animals in the park may appear tame and or docile, you should always keep a safe and respectful distance, as these are wild animals. Moose can weigh thousands of pounds and are unpredictable animals that should be given wide berth especially in the fall during the "rut" or mating season. Even the familiar white-tailed deer is armed with powerful hooves and pointed horns that have been used on humans who have gotten too close. Smaller animals present other risks and it is good policy to keep clear of wild animals in general.

One of the most obvious residents of the park is the moose. The moose is North America's largest deer. A great place to see moose is at Stump Pond in the early morning or evening. The pond is a small beaver pond where several moose can often be seen feeding on plants at the bottom of the pond.

Moose, cow and bull, in Stump Pond

Another great place to see moose is at Kidney Pond. I have been there twice now and both times I saw a cow moose with her new calf grazing in the brush along the shore. We visited the pond several times and people would report to us that she was moving around from day to day and could be found ... near the river mouth, or ... off the point. But I am convinced that this is the same cow moose from year to year and she tends to move around the pond with her calf. You'll want to rent a canoe at the pond or bring your own kayak or canoe.

Deer do not appear to be as common as moose, but maybe they are just less conspicuous. I saw a white-tailed deer buck on the Appalacian Trail below Daicey Pond while fishing the Nesowadnehunk stream. Initially, I thought the deer would spook and run when he saw me, but I soon realized that he knew I was there the whole time and was continuing to forage in the brush anyway. It was very exciting to have the deer actually move toward and past me and not be afraid. Most of the deer I see are along the highway or bolting out of sight with their tails signalling. But, I was able to get my buddy Tom and walk back past the buck without it even raising it's head.

Buck in Velvet on Appalachian Trail

What about the smaller guys? Well, I saw rabbits almost every morning as we were putting our canoe into Kidney pond. They seem to like the short grass around the cabins at Kidney, Daicey and others. One even came in near our camp at Katahdin Stream lean-tos. But, so did a raccoon. While fun to see, it was obvious that he was there for a snack. Which reminds me, "don't feed the animals."

Related Books
Animal Tracks of New England : Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont
Animal Tracks of New England

National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds : Eastern Region
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds

National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England
National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England

Maine Atlas & Gazetteer
Maine Atlas & Gazetteer

A Field Guide to Animal Tracks
A Field Guide to Animal Tracks

Maine New Hampshire Vermont Hiking and Snowshoeing Biking Canoeing Fishing Wildlife Spotting, Bird Watching