Tuesday, July 19, 2011


    We don't hunt. Just never have. But we love hunting. Hunting for us involves a camera of some sort and of course adventure.
     Living in Colorado, the news often involves animals. Usually the ones on the wild side. They're my favorite. Except for my dog. One day the news reported that the moose population in Grand County had increased substantially. That's exciting. Moose aren't the common critter out here, but occasionally in the northern regions of the state you'll spot one. If you're lucky. (Although I understand they are now moving south.)
     So Saturday came rolling around and we thought it would be a great day for moose hunting. Packed up a picnic, asked the dog if he'd like to go for a ride, which of course is a stupid question for our adventure seeking, energetic eleven year old Aussie/Chow mix, and we headed northwest.
     The news report stated that the moose were all over in the town of Grand Lake. We got there in about an hour and a half and searched the streets of the community. Over by the lake, in the woods, checked the marshy areas...nothing. Disappointment only determines us all the more. Being so close to the west entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, we figured that was our next best bet. We had found a very large one there years ago, and if I ever find those photos (pre-digital age) I'll share them.
     Okay, I have to digress and tell that story.
     Adventure again found us on the west end of RMNP. There are some marvelous flat walking paths on the lower end of the park. We decided to go for a leisurely walk this time. We eventually made it to the creek, but a lot of bushes and trees stood between us and the rushing water. Being the explorers that we are, we trudged through the thicket ducking away from slapping willow branches as we went. We wanted to be fairly quiet in case there was any wildlife around. Finally making it through, we were able to stand upright again. We both rose about the same time and found ourselves 20 feet away from a adult bull moose. His huge antler dripped with water from his foraging in the creek for goodies. He looked over at us...chewing.
     We froze! This was a full size boy moose close to the season of the rut. Thankfully, not in it yet. He was a monster. One thing anyone with moose knowledge knows, is don't mess with a male in the rut. They've been known to flip cars up in Minnesota. Just because it was there. Glad it was early in the fall.
     When we realized he could care less about us, we started snapping pictures. It was an amazing experience. I've got to find where those photos are. If he moved, we hid behind those sturdy willow branches as if that would benefit us in any way shape or form.
     So now back to the present. We drove into the park with ever watchful eyes. Another tip if you are in Colorado, if cars are stopped on the roadside, LOOK AROUND. They probably see something you want to see. Such was the case with about five cars parked and all the people were heading into the meadow. Being the sheep that we are, we grabbed the cameras, leashed the dog and followed.
     Everyone walked gingerly over the long grasses. Gus was happy. We moved as a group, some pointing, until the oo's and ah's were whispered on the wind. There stood Momma Moose with a youngster. These photos I have.
      That's what I'm talkin' about. This was what we came for. This time we had sturdier Ponderosa Pines to hide behind. I'm not messing with a momma watching over her baby. Nope. Zoom!
We gave her all the room she wanted.
Camera hunting of wildlife is a marvelous past-time, but they have to be respected. They have to have their space. Not only for your own safety, but for them too. If you get too close, you don't get to see their natural behavior. Even from a distance, they know you are there, but if they don't feel bugged, they are fine.
     So we watched. The other people sharing this experience, were in as much awe. I don't know how long we hid in our spot, just watching, observing nature. Blue skies up above, puffy white clouds, green trees (some long dead still stood gray against the skyline), tall grasses. Peace.

Can you see them back there?

     More folks had joined us out there in the meadow. Sometimes there's some that come along and take chances that could certainly jeopardize the situation. Momma starting getting nervous when she spotted a few almost circling around, so she had had enough of her audience for the day.
     Off they went to find a more private area to graze.
     I couldn't help but wonder that day, what was God thinking when he created the moose? They really aren't the most handsome creature, bulbous nose, huge ears, lumpy back, yet we found such delight in finding them that day. I think it is one of those things where God showed his sense of humor. But it did get us the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, much to my son-in-law's delight, so they aren't all bad.
     Regardless, I'm glad God created these creatures to add to the deer and elk family. They are a fascinating lot. Yep, I like moose "hunting". I'll go looking for that adventure again when I hear another news story.

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