Bull moose browsing

A bull moose browses aquatic plants in Long Lake, early summer, water dripping from his velveted antlers. Wrangell - St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. (Alces alces)

A bull moose browses aquatic plants in Long Lake, early summer, water dripping from his velveted antlers. Wrangell – St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. (Alces alces)

Mid-June, and this bull moose already has a substantial rack. The antlers of the bull moose are absolutely amazing; they drop the antlers over the winter, and begin to grow a new set in the first months of spring. And by fall, when they stop growing (usually late August), they might reach over 6′ across! Scientists have discerned that a mature bull moose, in growing his antlers, will burn up more energy and require more calories than a cow pregnant with a growing calf. Pretty amazing stuff!

I hope this guy’s still around. Moose are hunted in the Preserve, and it’s always with mixed feelings that I spend some time photographing a particular creature, like this bull, knowing that my being around him is probably not in his best interests.

I know he made it through this particular summer/fall, because I saw him in the winter afterward.

It’s a rough life for moose; winter is the starving time, wolves chase them all year long, bears chase them in the summer, and they get shot at in the fall. By comparison, my camera firing a few frames probably isn’t too much of a disturbance for him at all!

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