Taken this morning at Brainard Lake in Arapaho National Forest, Colorado . This monstrous bull moose has begun shedding the velvet that covers its antlers.
The blood comes from the blood vessel system that forms the skin covering and grows the antlers. The shedding of the velvet is a precursor to the rut when this male and others nearby will use their massive antlers to battle for the right to mate area females.
He and another nearby bull were vigorously rubbing their antlers on foliage to aid the process. It certainly is gross looking but also very cool to be able to see this stage