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Moose

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Moose calf hams it up for the camera

It is Moose Monday so here I share a couple of pics of this little one that I have not shown you before. Taken back in August 2015, this cutie, its mom and a bull gave us an evening surprise by strolling right through our campsite.

An early evening thunderstorm had chased us inside the RV while camping in Arapaho National Forest two. Finally, there was a break and as I went outside to light the grill to get dinner going, I notice this massive black and brown creature not 40 feet away. A moose!

I step back inside and grab my camera telling the family to look out the window. As I step back outside, I hear my daughter say softly, “Daddy, there’s a baby too!” I quietly and slowly creep around the RV where I have a good view of mama and her young one. Just as I start taking pictures, I see motion out of the corner of my eye and I’ll be a son of a gun if a bull didn’t come waltzing into the area too!

The trio calmly grazed their way through the campsite spending 20 minutes or so with us before moving back into the densely treed forest. As it was evening and there were dark clouds above lighting was tough so my pics aren’t as nice as I would like. But, it was truly a magical encounter and probably my favorite ever with moose.

A Moose calf hams it up for the camera in Arapaho National Forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Moose calf hams it up for the camera in Arapaho National Forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Moose calf keeps an eye on the camera while its mom grazes in Arapaho National Forest.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Moose calf keeps an eye on the camera while its mom grazes in Arapaho National Forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

Curious bull Moose checks out the photographer

This handsome fellow seemed a bit surprised to find me as he emerged from a bunch of willows. He and three other bulls were grazing in Colorado’s Brainard Lake Recreation Area with about a dozen photographers all taking pictures. While the shutterbugs were focused on the other three, this guy thought he would use the opportunity to sneak out of the hubbub by making a flanking maneuver.

Little did he know that I was standing far apart from the crowd getting a different angle, one that allowed me to capture it just as it emerged. While I don’t think it expected to find me there, it didn’t mind one bit and after a brief pause, continued its circuitous route around the rest of the photographers and off into the forest with few others aware.

A bull Moose pays close attention to the photographer.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A bull Moose pays close attention to the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

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)

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