Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Moose might be smarter than we think

THE KNOCK on moose is that they are supposedly dumb. It is said that their brain is very small. When they are standing in the middle of the road on a dark night, their little brain signals to them that, whatever the object may be that is barreling toward them at a high speed, they are bigger and thus they aren’t moving. This is why moose almost always beat Volkswagens.

I think the moose is way smarter than the squirrel. How many dead moose do you see on the highway?

The Graying Golf Gang was traveling up I-89 in Mr. Golf’s “Regent” a week ago. Mr. Golf insists that the “Regent” is a recognized automobile brand name for his van. But I have only seen it used on sewing machines and a brand of cheap motel.

This one has the pep of the former and the luxury of the latter, but it eventually made it to our destination. Meanwhile, we counted dead squirrels.

We began at one mile marker and by the time we had gone six miles, the count was up over 60 and people were losing interest. Even the occasional dead raccoon could no longer excite the group.

Oak trees are also smarter than squirrels. I am told that last year was a mast year for oaks, meaning the trees know that the squirrels are out to grab them before into mighty oaks the little acorns can grow. So every few years, oaks produce a bumper crop of acorns (called mast) and this produces a bumper crop of squirrels the next year, who end up getting bumped off searching for food and space.

I had missed the memo on this phenomenon. The only thing I knew linking the two is when a golfer makes a great shot and says, usually in a fit of false modesty, “Heck, even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in awhile.”

That saying, however, is now so politically incorrect on so many levels that it will no doubt be banned before Judge Kavanaugh hears his next case.

Until the on-ramp from 89 to 93 south, the squirrel count was way down on our return. That little strip looked like a mangled fur carpet. But there were flocks of turkeys to be seen along the way. We shouted out “Squirrel!” as we passed, but I don’t think the birds heard or understood. (The turkey apparently makes the squirrel look like a Roads Scholar.)

One thing I understand is that this Friday’s Union Leader has more goodies in it than a tree full of acorns. Look for New Hampshire Innovators, which is a special magazine focusing on companies, large and small, doing some bright and clever things and attracting workers in the process.

The edition also has a section devoted to some of the best job openings across the state. Squirrel catcher is not among them.


Write to Joe McQuaid at or on Twitter at @deucecrew.