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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
It is Moose Monday and today’s capture comes from Roosevelt National Forest. It was a very chilly morning at 10,300 feet (26 degrees!) as the sun came up and the big guys were proving tough to find initially. I did finally have some luck coming across this old, tough one and a very young one that was following him around.
Here the big guy seems to have picked up a scent, perhaps of a nearby female. He clearly is one of the senior members of the bulls that hang out in the area, something you can easily tell from his size and seemingly aging face.
It’s Moose Monday! For today’s pic I give you this good-sized bull who was approaching through the shrubbery.
Taken last weekend, five of the big guys were grazing through the willows. This drew a lot of attention of the photographers and sightseers but I chose to stand further away and to the side. I knew it was time for the Moose to start heading to the forest, they usually do once the sun is up and temperatures rise.
The crowd had cut off their direct access and I and one other shutterbug took a guess the Moose would come our way – and they did. We managed some nice shots as they came right toward us. It looks like I am close but was a good 20 to 30 yards away.
This guy was definitely taking in the scent of something or someone.
This was the first time I have seen a Moose exhibit this behavior. Called the Flehmen response, many mammals will curl their lips and raise their head, inhaling deeply allowing them to get a better sampling of a particular smell that interests them – kind of like a human taking a big whiff to smell something. You most likely have seen horses do this and I have seen deer, elk and bison do it as well.
Taken this past Sunday in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, Colorado.
Such a handsome fellow to showcase on Moose Monday. This big guy and his friends were grazing on some willows in a meadow in Arapaho National Forest last month.
He didn’t pay me much attention as my wife and I sat on the opposite side of the meadow snapping their pictures. That is, until some other folks came buy and started making some noise.
He quickly took notice of all the attention he was getting and, as this picture shows, clearly took note of the two of us. Clearly though he wasn’t bothered and in fact seemed to view us as more of a curiosity than anything.