I had lived with the curse for too long. We had been to the park a number of times and even to Alaska
But I had never seen a Bull Moose. Lot's of cows. Probably 20 cows but no bulls.
I don't know why that was but I was starting to get discouraged. My partner Christine said
she always saw them when she came just not when I was along. This was starting to get personal.
Moose are said to be very aggressive and can be along with grizzlies the most dangerous animals in the
woods. Especially during the fall rutting season.
My partner Christine and I were following a trail through Gardners hole in October of 2003 looking for wolf sign.
We had followed the main trail going in and usually we just turn around and go back, but this time we
decided to try two different branchs of the path. We entered the first branch down a very narrow canyon,
went in for a quarter of a mile or so and decided to turn around and try the other branch.
It took us through a swampy area that we had to circumnavigate to avoid
getting wet on that cold and damp day. We went as far as we felt we had
time for and then looked back at the main trail to head home.
There on the main trail was a large Bull Moose.
He was quickly motoring along in all his goofy glory.
It was rutting season and he was obviously intent on finding himself some satisfaction.
He trotted resolutely down the main trail and the last we saw of him he had gone down the
narrow canyon trail we had been on 20 minutes before.
If we had just turned around and gone back like usual we would have met him on
the main trail which goes through a treeless hilly
expanse where you are always walking over and around hills so your line of sight is not very far.
If we had gone a little longer down into the narrow canyon we would have
had a close encounter with the moose in tight quarters with nowhere to go except backwards.
My guess is if we had run into the moose he would have run off
or we could have backed up and let him by but you never know and it was during the rut.
I did remember the bear spray this time, which I assume, would work on a moose but I
never read anything about that. Just another one of those times when you just have to ask yourself "what if?"
Later that same trip while hiking the Specimen Ridge trail through the Lamar Valley we saw another bull
doing the same manly trot with desire in his eyes and he ran right by a fisherman with out giving him a second glance.
That's a feeling we can relate to right? Focus during desire to the exclusion of all else.
An animal is an animal.
I've seen lots of moose (cows) in the Grand Teton area. In the vast swamp behind Jackson
Lodge you're almost guaranteed a sighting. Also around Silver Gate and Cooke City at the
northeast entrance of the park the woods seem thick with moose so please drive slowly. In the park
proper I've seen the big gangly ungulates at Floating Island Lake, at the Petrified Tree area, in Gardiner Hole,
and along Soda Butte Creek particularly at the Lamar confluence.
All moose sightings are hit and miss and I don't think I have ever gone looking for them and found them,
they just appear, unexpectedly and left me smiling.
Tim Springer - 2004
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