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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Moose are Everywhere!

In the past three years, we've gone from never having seen a moose in our neck of the woods to seeing them regularly.

As some of you remember, a moose literally charged into my world. When moose first arrived in our area, I was charged on three occasions. Other people were also charged, usually by a mother moose with a calf in tow.

The great news is that both the humans and the moose seem to have learned about each other. The moose seem to know where they're likely to see us humans and to avoid those spots. And, if they're in a "high traffic" trail area, they are wary but usually let people pass.

The local people, including me, have also learned how to coexist with moose. My "moose radar" is almost always active. When I'm with Shyla, I watch her body language closely because it is usually the first hint of a moose in the area. They like to stand perfectly still among the trees, and it's very hard for the human eye to pick them out.

This photo was from about a week ago when Shyla froze in her tracks, leading me to scan the area. I would have never picked out this moose and her calf without Shyla "telling me" that they were there.
Indeed, on one occasion when I was charged by a mother moose a few years ago, I never saw the moose before she started charging. I was pedaling along with Shyla nearby, and a moose came crashing out of the forest. Shyla hid behind me, and I yelled and screamed, scaring away the moose. I'm so glad that I've gotten a bit better, with Shyla's help, at knowing where they are and giving them a wide berth.

A trail camera caught a group of moose coming into our area recently. I believe that this was the mother moose.

I think that this was a young male moose, probably not her most recent calf.

And, this was her calf.

These three lingered in our area for a while, with the male sometimes near the mother-calf pair and sometimes not. When I saw them most recently, only the mother and calf were together. Mom is on the left and the calf is on the right. I was using a very long lens.

Despite my presence, the mother went to lie down a few steps away.

And her calf just stood around while I was present.

I went on my way, heading out to do a loop on my bike. Unfortunately, this mother-calf pair were occupying a trail intersection that I had to pass through to get home at the end of my ride. I hoped that maybe they'd moved before my homeward journey but they hadn't.

On my way home, I first saw the calf, lying in the snow.

Then, I spotted mom. Something about her face made me head off into the woods making a huge arc around them. She scared me with that look.
I think that it was her focus on me that scared me. In any case, I waded through knee-deep snow while pushing my bike to get out of her range, and I passed the pair unscathed.

It's become a pattern in our neighborhood that we tell all our local friends where we spotted moose so that they can be extra careful in that area. I'm not sure how useful it is because these animals can travel a long way quite fast when they want to!

For the moment, it seems that we humans and the moose have reached a state of coexistence. However, I truly believe that our wildlife officials should have educated the locals when the moose started moving into our area. They are an "introduced' species, meaning that they were never naturally here until some were transplanted from other states. It seems inevitable to me that the local people would not know how unpredictable moose are when they first ran into them in the forest or in their own yard.
Moose certainly have changed the forest. They are the only wildlife that don't flee from humans which sets up some interesting situations. Last week, a mother and calf decided to settle in on our driveway. They moved on before it became an issue. However, a neighbor had to hitchhike rather than use her own car because it was being licked by two moose!

Now that's an interesting excuse for being late to an appointment.

23 comments:

  1. They seem quite comfortable there. I'm glad everyone is learning to coexist, moose are probably my favorite forest animal.

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  2. They are really cool looking.
    Happy Valentines Day!
    Snorts,
    Lily & Edward

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  3. Really large, and I thought maybe a bit cumbersome, but you say they can move fast! Glad I'm not out there in the way, super photos, with that long lens. And Shyla maybe has that 6th sense to know when they are even anywhere nearby.

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  4. Such big and beautiful creatures. We would gladly wait for the moose to lick wash our car as long as they like. Nature is beautiful.

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  5. The ones around here are lower down and chasing hikers. The antler collectors have been forbidden to collect until a later date due to so much activity.

    Happy Valentine's Day From Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  6. Licking the car? For the salt maybe?

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  7. Moose slobber sure can make you late!

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  8. They may be pains at times, but we are so envious. Love the moose licking the car...great morning chuckle.

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  9. They sure are incredibly beautiful animals. We couldn't help but laugh at the thought of using that for an excuse for tardiness:)

    Happy Valentine's Day to you!

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  10. I spent a summer up in Bettles Alaska helping friends with a business, and loved all the moose I'd see from the air in the little plane they let me use.

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  11. I always feel relieved when you mention using a long lens. And it's great that Shyla is sensible and provides an early warning to you as well. Moose are so intriguing, but also unpredictable.
    And on a wildlife note, I tried to leave a comment a few days ago on your lion post, but may have clicked the wrong button, so I'll just mention one thing (maybe repeating myself): the Snow Leopard researchers use collars that will fall off after an extended period of time. You'd think if researchers can do that in the rugged terrain and harsh conditions of Snow Leopard habitat, the researchers in the Rockies could manage to do the same, wouldn't you?

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    1. You would think so - but I think that funds were severely limited... Grrrrrr. It would seem better to include fewer lions but have the best collars, wouldn't you think?

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    2. Oh, and I forgot to say that I'm truly scared of moose - so I won't go anywhere near them for photos. All it takes is flick of their eyes in my direction, and I'm "outta there"!

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  12. Happy Valentine's Day KB! Loved all your photos and your wisdom in how to deal/avoid the Moose in your area. You know I love looking at them, but that Mama would scare the dickens out of me with that look. They are so gorgeous though. Hope you are getting some sunshine!
    Hugs, Noreen

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  13. We have a few moose around that will sometimes venture into the next town south of me to the point where a coworker who lives there was worried about her daughter walking to her music lessons only because of the moose that likes to hang out on the route she'd take. I laughed, yes, but I wouldn't want to go up against a moose! I'm glad Shyla alerts you to them...neat animals, but NOT to be messed with!

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  14. Happy Valentine's Day to you and the moose.

    Aroo to you,
    Sully

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  15. Crikey ...... what great pictures. How good is Shyla to alert you of their presence?? And how good that you have learnt to coexist with them. They are magnificent and I'm sure they will get to know you and Shyla mean them no harm.

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  16. Amazing photos! I think you and Shyla help each other to be safe!
    love
    tweedles

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  17. Truly magnificent creatures. Your 'capture' of them was terrific and I for one, appreciate your sharing them to us city-folk. 😊

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    1. That is interesting that moose are an introduced species there. I believe they are native here in New England, but our numbers have been dwindling greatly lately. It's very worrisome. We used to see them on the side of the road here and there, and occasionally when hiking or mountain biking, but that was quite a few years ago. I can't even remember now the last time we saw one (not that I'd want to see one like you did when you got charged!! Yikes!).
      Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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