SHREWSBURY, Vt. (AP) _ The skeptics said their romance was doomed from the start; they were just too different.

But the lovesick Shrewsbury moose continues to stand by his cow.

The moose wandered into a pasture owned by part-time farmer Larry Carrara 40 days ago during the mating season and began making cow eyes at Jessica, a brown and white Hereford.

Moose expert Charles Willey said it was impossible for a moose and a cow to produce offspring but that it was not uncommon for moose to try to mate with cows or horses.

However, he's never heard of a moose that has stayed with a cow for as long as the Shrewsbury moose.

''When he falls in love, he doesn't fall easily,'' Willey said. ''He falls hard. It obviously has bonded with that cow.''

Game wardens, who said the moose would be gone weeks ago when the mating season ended, now say it eventually will return to the wild - but they refuse to predict when.

''I'm through trying to outguess him,'' Game Warden Donald Gallus said Tuesday, standing 15 feet from the moose that calmly ate twigs from an apple tree. ''He's acting like he likes it here. He's playing like a big shot.''

The moose's crush has drawn media attention from around the world, inspired a country-western ballad and attracted 60,000 people to Carrara's hilltop farm near the tiny town of Shrewsbury, population 600.

''Over the last 40 days, I've spent more time with him than I have with my wife,'' Carrara said. ''He's welcome here just as long as he wants to stay.''

The moose was the center of attention Tuesday, surrounded by Carrara's cows and watched by about a dozen tourists.

When Carrara spread grain for the animals, the moose stood up and nudged a few cows aside to let Jessica eat.

''He always watches out for Jessica,'' Carrara said.

Robert Trivett, a trucker from Moore, Okla., had just dropped off a shipment of rubber in nearby Rutland and came by to see the love story he had been hearing about as he traveled around the country.

''It sure ... is different,'' he said.

Bernie Savard of Richmond was recording the odd couple with his video camera.

''This is amazing, a cow and a moose,'' he said.

Carrara has taken a leave of absence from his job as a maintenance worker at a General Electric plant to deal with the influx of tourists.

The moose, which used to stay near the cows all day, leaves for short periods during the day to drink at a nearby brook. It wanders off about 10 p.m., but returns at daybreak.

The moose has grown calmer, and rarely ruts or tries to mate with Jessica, Carrara said.

He has made a tidy profit from selling $8 T-shirts, $15 sweatshirts and $1 bumper stickers.

But the moose seems to mean more than money to Carrara, who goes out every night to stand by him.

''I feel at times I can touch him. But I don't want to because he's wild and we want to keep him that way.''