We've been continuing our streak of seeing moose. It used to be that I'd watch Shyla's body language to find out if an interesting animal was nearby. Like this wide-eyed look...
This morning, I never saw what had caught her interest but last night was a different story.
The Runner and I took sunset hike with the Duo up a south-facing slope to a ridge. After we climbed steeply and attained the ridge, we started hiking directly toward the setting sun with the dogs on leash. Fortunately, the Runner was looking far ahead because a pair of moose were directly in our path.
I had my wildlife lens with me so the Runner retreated out of sight with the two dogs, and I stayed to get a few photos from behind a stand of pine trees (so I had protection if I was charged). It seemed almost risk-free because I was so far away from the moose. I did talk calmly to them so I wouldn't surprise them.
And here was his mom, who was paying no attention to me.
Just for context, we've done this hike at sunset innumerable times, and we've have NEVER seen another person on one of those hikes. Well, last night was a first. As I was taking these three photos, a hiker with a loose dog approached from the other side of the moose.
The calf immediately focused on the approaching person and dog.
After it was all over, the hiker told me that the mother moose had treed her last week. She literally climbed a tree to avoid being hurt by the moose. Apparently, another hiker's dog was pinned to the ground under the hoof of the mother moose. Fortunately, the mother released the dog without harming it badly.
Whew. I love moose but their presence has changed the stakes for hikers around here. Unlike ever before, we have very large mammals whose first reaction to people is not necessarily to flee. They are aggressive toward people fairly regularly, as I learned earlier this winter.
This is very different from our herd of elk who invariably run from people. We saw part of the herd at a distance just after sunset last night.