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Moose

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Close-up of an aged giant

When I came across this big fellow last September, it was clear he was the senior member of the Moose hanging out in Roosevelt National Forest. You could see the scars of past battles on his face and his sheer size and massive antlers told the story of a bull that had seen many years.

Here he looks at peace as he grazes on willows soon after sunrise. However, they can become agitated and aggressive very quickly so extreme caution must be utilized and a respectable distance maintained when viewing them.

Moose live on average 15 to 20 years so I certainly hope I have a chance to photograph this big guy once conditions allow it in Colorado’s high country.

A massive bull Moose grazes on willows in Roosevelt National Forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A massive bull Moose grazes on willows in Roosevelt National Forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young Moose bull grazing in the early morning sun

As I sit thinking about my plans for the summer and fall I cannot help but get anxious about visiting with this massive creatures again. So large, so beautiful – but also ones to be very cautious around.

Back in September this young one was hanging out with a couple, far more senior bulls, grazing the willows in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area.

Moose are the largest member of the deer family although the sub-species we have here in Colorado, the Shiras Moose, are the smallest of moose sub-species. That however does not mean they are truly small. They can stand six feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 1,200 pounds!

You cannot begin to appreciate their size until you are up close with one. It is best to maintain a respectful distance, no matter how gentle they might seem.

A young Bull Moose grazes on willows in Colorado's Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Bull Moose grazes on willows in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bull Moose enjoys the clean mountain air

Well, in actuality he may have been picking up the scent of a nearby cow. With the rut approaching, the males at this spot in Arapaho National Forest back in August were keenly aware of any females in the area. This particular guy was younger and didn’t have quite as impressive of a rack as the other five bulls but he was not small by any means.

Moose are the largest member of the deer family although the sub-species we have here in Colorado, the Shiras Moose, are the smallest of moose sub-species. That however does not mean they are truly small. They can stand six feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 1,200 pounds! You cannot begin to appreciate their size until you are up close with one. It is best to maintain a respectful distance, no matter how gentle they might seem.

A Bull Moose takes a sniff of the clean, Colorado mountain air. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Bull Moose takes a sniff of the clean, Colorado mountain air. (© Tony’s Takes)

Big bull Moose relaxes in the shade

It is Moose Monday! On a long ATV ride in Colorado’s high country this past summer, we kept coming across wet areas with lots of willows and I was telling my family, “There have to be moose here.” Returning to camp what do we find? Two bulls and two cows grazing in the mid-afternoon.

I didn’t have my ‘good’ camera so we raced the seven mile back to camp then my wife and I raced back and thankfully the four were still there. With all the motorized traffic they were a bit apprehensive but this big guy clearly wasn’t too bothered by the attention.

Taken in Grand County in Arapaho National Forest, Colorado.

A bull Moose rests in the shade of Arapaho National Forest.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A bull Moose rests in the shade of Arapaho National Forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

“If I go very, very quietly, maybe those photographers won’t notice me”

I almost forgot Moose Monday! Here’s a capture I don’t share for any great creative content but only because I find it amusing. Taken back at the end of August when an area west of Boulder, Colorado becomes a hot spot for Moose and photographers.

Many of my fellow shutterbugs were clustered together in one spot, something which I never quite understand. Anyway, while they were focused on some other bulls, this young one snuck around in a flanking maneuver and headed off into the forest largely unnoticed. It was pretty funny to see.

A bull Moose tries to sneak past a group of photographers in Colorado's high country.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A bull Moose tries to sneak past a group of photographers in Colorado’s high country. (© Tony’s Takes)

Bull Moose sheds its velvet

Here’s one for #TBT going back to August 31, 2014. As the rut approached, the #Moose bulls were getting more aggressive and working hard to shed their velvet. This was something I had never seen before and while gross, it was also pretty darned cool. The blood comes from the blood vessel system that forms the skin covering and grows the antlers. Taken in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area of Colorado.

A Moose bull's velvet is quite bloody when it begins to fall off. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Moose bull’s velvet is quite bloody when it begins to fall off. (© Tony’s Takes)

Moose bull takes a big whiff of the fresh air

It’s been a little while since I have done a Moose Monday so here you go. This big boy was hanging out in the rarified high-altitude air of Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness Area back in August. He along with four other bulls and a cow were all grazing in the willows and enjoying a brisk late summer morning. Something seemed to get the attention of this bull’s nose and he raised it up using the flehmen response to get a big sampling of whatever he was smelling.

A bull Moose sticks its nose in the air and takes a big whiff of the Colorado air.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A bull Moose sticks its nose in the air and takes a big whiff of the Colorado air. (© Tony’s Takes)

Gentle-eyed giant grazes on willows

When you see a Moose in a setting like this, they seem so gentle and you can certainly find yourself at ease photographing them. However, under that seemingly soft, calm demeanor is a wild animal, one that is known to do some serious damage to people when it feels threatened.

I oftentimes see wildlife watchers and other photographers put themselves in positions far too close to these massive creatures, something which I make a very purposeful effort not to do.

Moose are the largest member of the deer family although the sub-species we have here in #Colorado, the Shiras Moose, are the smallest of moose sub-species. That however does not mean they are truly small.

They can stand six feet tall at the shoulder and weigh up to 1,200 pounds! You cannot begin to appreciate their size until you are up close with one. It is best to maintain a respectful distance, no matter how gentle they might seem.

Image taken on August 28 in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area of Roosevelt National Forest.

A Moose bull grazes on willows in the Colorado high country. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Moose bull grazes on willows in the Colorado high country. (© Tony’s Takes)

The old man of the forest

It’s Moose Monday! I don’t know how old this big guy was but he was definitely the senior of the bulls last month. His battle scarred face, sheer physical size and massive antlers certainly would seem to tell the story of a life fighting other bulls and many harsh seasons at high altitude.

Moose on average live between 15 and 20 years. I certainly hope that next year I have the privilege of photographing this majestic animal again. Taken in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area of Colorado.

An elder Moose bull walks through willows in the forest in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. (© Tony’s Takes)

An elder Moose bull walks through willows in the forest in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. (© Tony’s Takes)

A gentle faced giant for Moose Monday

The youngest of the bulls at the area I visit to see these magnificent creatures, he was hanging out with the most senior of the group recently. Unlike the elder, this young guy had a softness to his face and certainly those little antlers show he is junior to the others.

Nevertheless, he was massive, taller to the top of his head than me and I am 6 foot 1 inch tall. It is hard to believe that the sub-species of moose here in Colorado, the Shiras, are actually the smallest in the moose family!

A young bull Moose in the early morning sun. (© Tony’s Takes)

A young bull Moose in the early morning sun. (© Tony’s Takes)

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