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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Moose on the Loose

My dogs and I spend time every day out on the trails. I've talked about all the training we do to prepare them to be good citizens around wildlife. We are usually out around sunrise and sunset, times of ample wildlife activity.

Shyla is usually my sole sunrise companion. I'm so glad that she is willing to focus on me when there are so many animals roaming our forest.
Our evening walks usually include both dogs together. Unfortunately, I've missed many evening walks lately due to my "cluster migraines", and so I've had little opportunity to be on the trails with R. Yesterday evening, I was able to hike with him and Shyla! R is an intense dog, as you can see in his face in this photo. I am always on my toes when he is off-leash to make sure that some of his focus is on me.
Shyla behaves differently around him. She's more willing to be wild when she has R by her side. So, when both leashes are off, I'm really on my toes!
We have a relatively new wildlife species in our forest that the dogs could potentially see - moose! A few breeding pairs were introduced on the other side of the Continental Divide 35 years ago - and it took a long time for them to become inhabitants of our side of the Divide. When I say "introduced", I mean that they were never an established species in this area before wildlife officials released some in the mountains. It surprises me that they "introduced" a non-native species because we've learned so much about how the proliferation of a new species can change an entire ecosystem. Apparently, the primary reason for it was to promote tourism because people like seeing moose.

I am one of those people who loves moose. The other day, a mother and her calf visited our neck of the woods, lying in willow thickets. Here was mom. She seemed completely unconcerned with me. The dogs were not with me (Mother Moose might have been concerned if they were).
Here was Junior. He stayed further away and more hidden in the willows than his mother.
I didn't have a good line of sight to see either of their faces. I had to stand patiently and wait for them to glance my way before clicking the shutter. Mom sneaked a peek first.
She mostly seemed to "listen" for me, with at least one ear rotated my way the whole time.
When Junior finally turned his head, I found out that he was a male. You can see the bud of an antler just above his eye.
I know that moose can be dangerous so I kept my distance. These photos were all taken with a long lens. When I departed, both moose were still bedded down in the snow, perfectly content to relax on the freezing surface and ignore me. This was my last view of Junior.
I hope to see them again but I must admit some trepidation about my dogs encountering a moose during a hike in the forest. I understand that moose can kill dogs, and it does happen in Alaska when sled dog teams are whooshing fast through the forest. From my trail cameras, I know that moose are rare in the vicinity of our house but they do occasionally trek nearby on their way to better habitat.

In any case, I was thrilled to see the moose the other day. What a treat!


  1. WOW! what a fabulous sighting!!! beautiful pics!!

  2. How exciting to see such gorgeous wildlife on a regular basis!

  3. It is a treat. SHE would love to see one. Has been to Alaska, Norway, Canada....and never saw one. You are so lucky.

    XXXOOO Bella & Roxy

  4. really neat that you saw them! hopefully they'll leave the dogs be and vice versa. :)

  5. This is so totally stunning, I think that Hugh is a little bit envious, love that long lens for these perfect photos. Cheers, Jean.

  6. 0h I have a feeling it was so still and quiet as you were watching the moose and her calf.
    What very beautiful photos KB!
    You captured another moment!

  7. Wow! What an incredible sight.

  8. Fascinating post - we hope to see more of the moose. Always wonder why we have a goose and some geese, but always moose, and no meese:)

  9. What a sight! Lucky, lucky you. Great photographs of the moose.

  10. That certainly is a treat!!! Like you, I love moose - my entire family does. How often - during our vacation trips - did we get up super early to watch moose, and we almost always saw some. Be it in Alaska, Yellowstone or Maine. Always, of course, with a very safe distance.

  11. Fun to see! I have seen one moseying down a small town street. . .it was supposed, like yours, to be looking for some "better" location, so it didn't stay long. Just hit for the woods. Love the pics of the pups and the "serious" one of Prince R.

    Jo, Stella and Zkhat

  12. Wow! What spectacular pictures! R does look intense, and I can see why Shyla feels it's safe to let loose when he's there.

  13. What a treat for you, KB, and what wonderful pictures!

  14. Thanks for your comment on my blog. When I took Dex to the vet, she offered to do x-rays if things didn't improve in a week. After reading your blog (and other dog blogs where similar illnesses were discussed) I decided to get the x-rays up front to set my mind at ease. Good thing, too, because the good news was no bone infection, but the x-rays did show some arthritis which will help me to manage Dexter's walks a bit better and be more aware for signs of discomfort.

    Mango Momma

  15. Wow, congrats to the Pictures!
    Great you have them on your side. Hope the cow stays and give birth to a new calf in your area. Moose are not dangerous otherwise if you come near a newborn calf. Its like all animals.
    Some dogs are killed by moose mostly hunting dogs.
    I have taken a lot of Pictures of moose around my home. You can come near them without problems.
    And they learn about you. THey knew my car sound and didnt ran away.
    Hope you get some more Pictures!

  16. WoW! Seein' a momma moose and her baby is a treat indeed, da fotos of dems is wunderful!

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae and Max

  17. Wow, love these photos of the moose!!!


  18. I love watching the moose when we go to Wyoming. The babies remind me of spiders, all legs!

  19. Years (many!) ago, my sister and I drove across the country in her van. Somewhere along the way, we saw a big bull moose in a field. We stopped to get a picture and traipsed across the field to get a good shot. We got "really" close....the next thing we know, a trucker pulls over and comes running into the field yelling for us to get the hell away from the moose, that he'll kill us! LOL! We had no clue, figured he was like the deer in our area that are pretty docile. I guess we got very lucky that day!

  20. I always always love to view your photography. The photos of your dogs and other wildlife is just stunning!

  21. Those are such wonderful mooseographs!

  22. KB, I had never seen a Moose up close until the first year we were here and went camping in the Grand Lake area-they were prolific and I fell in love with them. I've heard murmurings that they are headed towards Estes, which just thrills me. I know how careful you have to be around them, for although they look slow they are indeed fast.
    Thanks my friend for sharing-you've made my day!

  23. OMD, those are just FABulous photos!! They are so beautiful!
    I didn't knows that Moose have 'satellite' ears like me!!! BOL
    (I do the same thingie with my ears, always movin' and listenin'!)
    Shyla, you can just tell you loves R in those pics!! What a good brudder!
    Ruby ♥

  24. Very cool wildlife sighting! I have heard some pretty wild stories about how dangerous moose can be, but then so can deer that are pretty prevalent around here. I'm glad you got a chance to see them from a safe distance. I love that long lens sometimes!

    I love those pictures of the duo, too! I really love Shyla, but I admit that I have a soft spot for R, too!

  25. Very cool wildlife sighting! I have heard some pretty wild stories about how dangerous moose can be, but then so can deer that are pretty prevalent around here. I'm glad you got a chance to see them from a safe distance. I love that long lens sometimes!

    I love those pictures of the duo, too! I really love Shyla, but I admit that I have a soft spot for R, too!

  26. Phenomenal. I was not aware that moose had been introduced in the Rockies. It may prove to be a good thing (altho as you mentioned it's surprising to have wildlife managers introduce a non-native species). I've been reading that the native moose in the Northeast are declining. Climate change is causing their parasite population to explode, leading to weakness of the moose (can't remember now if it was ticks or biting flies - I'll have to check).

  27. It is exciting seeing any animal that you rarely encounter, although there are some I'd rather never see in the wild. A mother moose and 2 babies trotted through the campground I stayed at in Colorado. I'd never seen one before so it was a moment I can still see in my mind and remember the thrill. I'd have been thrilled beyond measure if I'd been able to catch a photo!

  28. Oohhh, new guys on the block! Is the plural of moose, mooses or moose? I don't know why but I always have an urge to say meese. LOL

    Dina Mom

  29. I was relieved when you mentioned using a long lens! I've come across moose when I was working in the woods, and it is really exciting to see such a large creature at close range. But I was never of much interest to the moose, I'm happy to say, although in each case, I am positive the moose knew exactly where I was!
    Last year Piper and I got to one of our pond trails literally seconds after a moose had walked along the trail, and I kept Piper on lead for a good while that day! I don't ever want to find out what Piper would think of a moose.


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