20 feet from a moose

I had a bull moose approximately 20 feet from me. He was so close that I could clearly see his eyes, his nostrils, and his breath. I could see his ears twitching and had a chill run through me as he stared at me.

But let me recall what I saw about 10 minutes before my moose encounter. I had pulled over on the side of the road to watch a herd of about 35 elk that seemed to be romping and moving through a clearing in the woods. I noticed the bull elk right away due to his size and large antlers. He was enormous! I was watching closely as he interacted with all of the female elk (cows). When all of a sudden I saw him leap forward and scoop up another elk with his antlers sending the elk into the air. I wasn’t able to tell whether the flying elk was a male or female before watching it fall to the ground on it’s side. It quickly got up and ran off while I sat there with my hand over my mouth in amazement of what I had just witnessed. My first guess was that it was a male elk but it was considerably smaller in size and later I read that most bull elks in their prime won’t engage in fights with the younger and smaller bulls. So maybe it was a cow elk that stepped outta line. I really don’t know the answer but it was a crazy sight to see.

Now back to the moose. As I had pulled into my neighborhood I saw a family of three moose. Well, at first I could only see the female and the yearling. As usual, I pulled over to watch them feed. They were moving slowly in my direction as they were stripping off the dead leaves from the Aspen trees. Eventually I saw the bull moose emerge from the thicket. I believe this is the same family that I had seen about two months ago. The baby had grown much bigger and was nearly the size of the mother. The bull’s antlers were soft and velvety the last time I saw him and now they were hard as bone with no velvet left on them. I watched them move around and feed leaves from the open window of my truck. The bull continued to shorten the distance between my truck and him. I noticed that he was pulling the bark off of an Aspen tree for sustenance. I found this interesting since while hiking and even in our yard you can see trees missing sections of bark. I’ve always known that some animals eat bark but to see it happening, really connected the pieces for me. He took a few steps closer. The yearling started to follow his dad making the cutest little noises as if calling for him to wait up. The only sound that I can liken it to is if you’ve ever seen the movie called The Bear in which the adorable abandoned bear cub makes cooing noises throughout the movie. That is similar to what it sounded like. Though I don’t think that was a real bear sound in the movie anyway. Every now and then it seemed as if the bull caught my scent and stopped with his nose in the air. I was keeping very still so he wouldn’t notice that I was there and wouldn’t startle him. He took a few more steps towards my truck when a YouTube video came to mind. It was of a bull moose attacking a pickup truck. I wouldn’t care about any dents or scratches to my truck because really that would be a cool story but I didn’t want the moose to hurt himself while trying to protect his family. The yearling started coming closer too and that was my cue to exit…slowly. It was the closest I’ve been to a moose…so far.

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Unfortunately, all I had with me was my iPhone so the pics are not that good.

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Eating the bark off an Aspen tree.

Bull and yearling

Bull and yearling

Bull, yearling, and cow in the background.

Bull, yearling, and cow in the background.

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~ by willtriforbeer on October 23, 2013.

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