Word and Image

Moose Family: Father and Son

I was not too happy with this shot. No, I did not shoot the moose with a rifle or gun. Someone seriously asked me about this after seeing my shots. Rather, I should say photos. Previously, I had some poor photos of the rescued injured moose in the wildlife park and they were lame. Meandering through Baxter State Park in northern Maine in the fall, I stopped where cars had parked by the roadside. Entering the woods, I saw a photographer in red hunter attire. There in front and among the trees was an enormous bull moose with a magnificent antler rack. The moose gets larger every time I tell the story. My camera was out and I was rapidly clicking while I expected the moose to leave at any moment. Uphill past the moose another tourist was coming downhill toward the moose. I say tourist for two reasons. He had a simple point and shoot camera. I know, this is a bit snobby of me. And, he had no clue that the moose could turn on him and kill him – definitely tourist ignorance! So I turned to my hunter/photographer acquaintance and asked what his exit strategy might be. We were both standing behind a tree for protection. I knew enough from native Mainers to know that a pissed moose is nothing to trifle with. His reply startled me. “Don’t worry about the one in front of you. It’s the three behind you that you need to be careful about.” Sure enough there were three, count ‘em, three moose, a giant bull with antlers 6 feet across, and a momma and baby. Oh boy, the last thing I wanted to do was to get between momma and her baby moose.  Well, there’s momma and son in this photo. Maybe it’s not the best shot but there it is.

The follow up to the story is that the hunter was an amateur just up from somewhere else to take a photo course on how to shoot moose. Here I had been looking all over to shoot a moose for a couple years. Beginner’s luck! Now it makes sense to me. His wife came to stand next to me while I got the photo of momma and babe. And my hunter friend is standing behind his wife and me as he started to make what sounded like moose mating calls. No, I don’t know what sound that is and neither did he. But immediately my exit strategy changed. In the event the moose charged over, I would push his wife out from behind the tree. The wife was pretty nice but not too photo savvy. I lent her my big 400mm lens and she asked me to take some photos using her camera. I reset her camera, which I hope she later changed back. Meanwhile, I kept thinking that the exercise was to take your own pictures. It was about your shot and your vision. Otherwise just open National Geographic and cut out a moose picture.

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