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Monday, February 26, 2018

Moose in Winter - Watch out for the Thin Ice!

On a recent fat bike ride, Shyla and I saw seven moose on one ride. The first group appeared to be three. They were all bulls, and they didn't show much interest in us besides a quick look as we appeared. All except for one were too deep in an aspen grove to photograph.
Despite their lack of interest in us, it wasn't easy to convince Shyla that it was okay to make a circle around them. She firmly wanted to turn around. Before I worked hard on convincing her, I snapped a few photos with my little point and shoot camera.

This is the same bull, now letting us see his full antlers. They're pretty big for around here.

He was busy eating the aspen trees and seemed to ignore us although his ears might have been monitoring us.

He stuck out his tongue as he processed the aspen twigs. Then, I finally convinced Shyla that it was okay to circle them and go on our way.

We rode for a little while, and then Shyla planted her butt in the middle of the trail - her moose alert signal. Again, she refused to move so I looked around for a moose. It's amazing how hard it is to spot such huge animals. Indeed, I spotted a group of at least four moose! As usual, most of them weren't clearly visible but here was one bull.

In the next frame, it appeared that a calf passed by him. The odd thing was that I never saw a cow moose in this group. Perhaps she was out of sight.

It looked as if the calf bumped an aspen tree as s/he moved past, releasing a shower of snow onto the bull moose. Typical teenager move!

Then, another couple of moose came into view. It looked like a bigger bull moose in the foreground and a younger one behind him.
With all these moose in a small area, I started to wonder if they were having a family reunion or some sort of party!

Part of the reason why we see so many moose in the forest in the winter is that their favorite feasting site, the bottom of a pond, is inaccessible. I was lucky enough to be able to put trail cams by a pond last autumn, and they are still there today. It's amazing how much the animal activity has gone down in the winter compared to autumn!

The biggest reason is probably that the ponds freeze, cutting off access to the moose's staple - plants growing from the bottom of a pond. Also, the pond ice is treacherous - it can break, sending an animal plunging into ice cold water.

Today's video shows some moose at ponds and shows an elk falling through the ice but managing to save herself.

Enjoy the video!


  1. that is so beautiful... and yes please be careful big griend.... I rather would invite him in our warm crib with a blankie and a tea... but he probably would say: uh no thanks LOL

  2. Hari Om
    Such wonderful footage yet again! I try not to be envious of your ability to see and record these critters - but I fail... &*> YAM xx

  3. they are so ugly and amazing and awe inspiring to me. i just love seeing them in their natural environment. bet that ice bath was a shock, good for the moose the ice was not thick enough to trap. my favorite part of the video is the back shoulder view standing in the snow falling... wanted to reach in and touch it. I am with Shyla, i would sit my butt down and turn around

  4. The bull moose gather like that in the winter in Wyoming too. I've seen photos that my has taken of 10-15 bulls all together. I think it must be a self protection thing. Wolves, or whatever predator would have a hard time with a whole group of moose. I'm surprised yours still have antlers though.

  5. You are a good girl for being wary of the moose, Shyla. Thank goodness the elk was able to escape from the freezing water!

  6. That sure is cool footage of the pond and its visitors. You are so lucky that Shyla has an alert to the moose. I'm sure it keeps you safe when they are around.

  7. Kudos for teaching Shyla that "moose is loose' signal. Seeing changes through the seasons remind me Mother Nature should not to be trifled with in terms of safety.

  8. Your excellent photography skills and that beautiful moose make for some awe inspiring photos.
    Hope your knee is doing ok
    Hugs madi and mom

  9. Strange--that gathering of moose. Always thought they were rather solitary animals.

  10. Mom loves moose and donkeys/burros. She thinks they are both awesome animals in the wild.

  11. Awesome shots of the moose. We chuckled at your commentary about the calf moose - teenagers indeed!

  12. Great photos and video. I'm so glad that poor elk was able to save herself!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  13. You got some beautiful pictures of the moose. Shyla is a good first mate in your adventures

  14. Such an amazing post and it's so wonderful to see those big critters!

  15. Love seeing Moose in your area-such incredibly strong and huge animals, but love their eyes.
    Thanks for sharing.

  16. You know I love this post today.......they look pretty darn healthy too. but then it has been a pretty mild winter. Still hoping for a lot more snow and moisture here and there. when you get it we get it. stay warm.....

  17. what a wonderful sighting
    lovely that Shyla knows to let you know
    that is a helpful companion

  18. KB,, you captured so much beauty!


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