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Moose

“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)

Old, grizzled veteran smiles for his portrait

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.

A very large bull Moose smells the air, perhaps looking for a female.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A very large bull Moose smells the air, perhaps looking for a female. (© Tony’s Takes)

Head on with a bull Moose

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.

A bull Moose approaches head on as it works its way into the forest.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A bull Moose approaches head on as it works its way into the forest. (© Tony’s Takes)

I smell you – and the 20 other photographers!

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.

A Moose bull displays the Flehmen response.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Moose bull displays the Flehmen response. (© Tony’s Takes)

The curious Moose bull

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.

A Moose bull seems quite curious about the photographer taking his picture. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Moose bull seems quite curious about the photographer taking his picture. (© Tony’s Takes)