Yes, we are that close. Moose are more dangerous than grizzly bears, accounting for more attacks on humans than the most ferocious predator in North America. And, yes we are that close.
What makes them dangerous is their size, unpredictability and ability to blend in with their surroundings. Take a look below and find the moose, not more than 15 yards from the camera. I call the photo moose-a-boo for obvious reasons. This was the one photograph from among five taken quickly in succession that revealed the moose at all.
Remember this beast is huge and only a thin veil of willow separate him from me and my camera and, yet, he is nearly invisible. I say he, not with any great certainty, but based his size and my son's observation (from our description) that the moose snorted and was shedding his coat, which is something bull moose do in the Spring.
Most of the time we watched him without acknowledgement on his part. We were careful to be quiet even to the point of using the camera's silent mode to remove the click that normally tells you when you take a picture. We moved slowly as we followed his progress through the willow. And, we probably stumbled into being down wind.
Even though we were on a rise a few feet above him, we both felt that heightened state of awareness that comes from a rush of adrenaline. Particularly so, once he stopped his eating to stare directly at us through the willow stalks. We were made but, thankfully, he judged us unworthy of further attention and continued his munching.
Not that we could have blamed him if he got upset. We are, after all, part of a species that hunts moose and chops their heads off for trophies. But here he is safe in the confines of a national park.
And, while I have good friends who are wonderful people who enjoy hunting these magnificent animals with high powered weaponry, I find it all hard to understand why watching this magnificent animal go about his day beneath the Grand Teton Mountains on a May morning.
After about 30 minutes of working his way through the willow stand and stripping leaves off branches our friend disappeared behind the willows. On a hunch, I walked further down the path I was on to a spot I thought likely to give me a view behind the willows. There he was, taking a break and digesting his breakfast.
Next week, how to find your own moose at Grand Teton National Park with an inquiry into how a city girl became a moose whisperer.
All photos and text copyright Clinton Richardson. These and other images from Yellowstone and Grand Teton are posted on our sister site at www.TrekPic.com in our Wild Wyoming Gallery.
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We write for creative doers who seek inspiration from experience. Our readers are students of life, interested in travel, photography and ideas.
Clinton Richardson, has been writing and photographing for decades. His acclaimed venture strategy series is now in its 5th edition. His Ancient Selfies is an International Book Awards Finalist and an eLit Award Gold Medal Winner. Many of his images can be seen online at TrekPic.com.