Maine reportedly has the biggest Moose populations of the country and a lot of them hang around the Moosehead Lake area. A pristine, unpopulated area where cell phone service is not always available and you travel by dirt roads only bothered by logging trucks that take the wooden gold out of the forests.
Chris Young, our guide, did the impossible to get us Moose sighting and that we had. Light, unfortunately wasn’t as good as we have wanted, and we had to get as high as ISO 4000 to accommodate the animal’s hours. We are talking about a 4:20Am sunrise and Moose are NOT morning persons. When we are getting up, they are going to sleep, so the best sighting hours are real early and real late, with poor light. But paddling in the quite of the lake, not daring to talk as not to spook them, in that magnificent scenery is worth the trip. We saw many cows with young ones as the one in the picture. The have “Moose ponds”, where the water is not deep and vegetation is easily accessible for them to eat. Calves are shown the way by mothers. The calf sticks with them until the cow is ready to have the next baby, and the juvenile is kicked away from the nest. If he/she wants to linger, it may pay for it dearly. Mom has no time for both. Usually on the first berth only one calf is born. The following year, she may have two or even three, although that is becoming more rare to see due to feeding availability. There was a report of a cow with twins, but we din’t get to see them. At this time, the antlers of the male are beginning to grow, at a rate of 1/10 of an inch a day, and they are totally covered with velvet. They will have the full rack for the mating season, and due to the change in vegetation, will drop them around mid-January.
Impressive animals, with long lens and rich coat, the Moose really rule the lake area and hopefully can still be around forever.
There’s a big lottery for hunting permits, only granted for two weeks a year, one week in one area and the second week in another. You can imagine how lucky you can feel if your name is pulled out of 30k aspiring hunters. Moose, as any heavy animal, should not be hunted very far away from the roads, because of logistics and the meat is very much desirable.
Since I’m a hunter only with the camera, I just hear this and will not get involved in an ethical dilemma, especially that I’m not a vegetarian.
A girl in the area that hunts explained to me that it’s all about the hunting, that pressing the shutter was not fun. I’d like to believe that.
I’ll stop the ranting and will tell you that we were most impressed with the area and the quality of life still present there. No wonder it is known as God’s country. You can still go and pick up wild blueberries off the ground, and no “no trespassing” signs are up. May they enjoy paradise for many more years!