I see moose all the time. I run into them seemingly every time I drive anywhere. I am frequently delayed by tourists who have pulled half off the road and are clicking away furiously (usually with a totally inadequate point and shoot camera) at a moose. On four occasions I have startled a moose in the forest and had to back away (or run away) to avoid being trampled to death.
Yet anytime I go out with my camera looking for animals, I never see moose. I shouldn’t say never. I usually see one right behind a tree munching on some sticks, or the ass end of one poking from the trees, or I see a baby and mother who dash into the trees as soon as lift my camera. See examples below.
Despite all the years I have spent in Alaska, I have almost no good photos of mooseses. Or meese. Mooses. Moose. There it is.
All that changed recently. As I came around a bend in the road, a startled moose leapt from the bush and into the road. A startled driver (me) slammed on the brakes and came to a stop a few feet before the moose. We both looked into each others eyes, our lives flashing before us. The moose saw endless days of eating twigs and leaves and the haunting memory of the bull she spent a rutting season with. I thought back to all the time I wasted on Facebook.
The moose calmed down, and I calmed down, and she moved back into the ditch and returned to eating leaves as she took a place among some photogenic fireweed. I clicked off a few photos of the huge deer. She looked at me and gave a knowing smile.
So after 9 years of being in Alaska I finally had a decent photo of a moose, one where he isn’t doing something pornographic to a road pole
or partially obscured by a tree. Thank you moose.
Since that day, I’ve been seeing moose everywhere. A mother and two calves came up to my cabin and hung out for an hour the other day. I took these photos from my porch or from my bedroom window.
I had become a bit of a moose snob. As we were driving down the road to Chena recently, I said to my wife, “I am only stopping if we see a moose in a lake, eating grass.” Minutes later we saw this:
Then the other day I came upon an enormous bull moose with a giant rack. It occurred to me that all my recent photos of moose were of babies or cows, and that I had no photos of bull moose. And this was a giant bull moose and I needed his photo for my collection! He was merely 5 feet from me, eating shrubs, but refused to look up. Typical. My run of moose luck has run its course, and everything is back to normal again.
Update: as soon as I completed this post, I saw two enourmous bull moose who have traveled down to the Savage River area for mating season. They are out looking for a harem to make sexy time with and are therefore in my area, but usually they stay upland.
I got some good shots of them as you can see below.
And if you want to see an awesome yet sad photo gallery of wolves taking down a moose calf, click here to go to Patrick Endres amazing blog of Alaskan Photos.