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Archive 2012 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis
  
 
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


I went out yesterday looking for wildlife after failing to find light for my landscape pictures. Unfortunately, the snow was coming down when I found a pair of moose. I thought it would be a good opportunity to test the ability of my new 600 F4 v2. Long , long shot, through the trees in the heavy snow.

Anyway the end point is that the lens performed well but the snow performed better and the pictures are marginal, so I will tell the story that went with the pictures to make up for the low quality pictures.


My understanding of moose is that they are mostly solitary creatures except for i) when they are mating or trying to mate, ii) when they are raising their young, and iii) when they group up for protection in the winter. Usually in the deep of winter, they are really hard to find because they don't move around much to conserve energy and the snow gets thick. I have struggled to find them after early November when they are groupded up.

I was driving down the gravel road (Smith Dorain between Canmore and Kananaskis Lakes) and thought I saw some moose in an avalanche chute at a distance. I pulled over and got the 7d, 1.4x, and 600 together with a monopod.

The female moose was in the opening and I watched her for awhile. It became apparent that she is in trouble. She is heavily favoring one of her front legs and limping.

I watched for a while and then saw the bull moose behind a tree. After a time she went toward the bull moose and nuzzled him and they limped off into the forest (30 minutes).

This is not an exciting story unless you put it in perspective. The cow is likely to die within weeks unless her leg improves. If a wolf finds them she will not be able to defend herself because they defend with their front legs. In addition, as the snow gets deeper she needs her front feet to dig through the snow. So highly likely she will not make it for more than a month. I doubt he is seeing her as a prospective mate at this time of the season.

The male moose seemed to be escorting her. The bull is fully capable of protecting himself from wolves and they are likely not to try to approach him. He is about 8 years old and really healthy looking. But since the rut is over I am surprised that he does not just leave her behind.


So maybe this is the winter gathering behaviour that I have been looking for. Or maybe it is just a late attempt at mating for the bull.

In any event, nature is tough and I expect to have the opportunity to take pictures of wolves near this spot or the grizzly family that is just waiting to hibernate about 5km away.

Comments and feedback is appreciated. Scott




1 of 4 The limping Cow

  Canon EOS 7D    EF600mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4x lens    840mm    f/5.6    1/1250s    4000 ISO    +0.3 EV  






2 of 4 The Healthy Bull

  Canon EOS 7D    EF600mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4x lens    840mm    f/5.6    1/1000s    5000 ISO    +0.3 EV  






3 of 4 A touching moment (pun)

  Canon EOS 7D    EF600mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4x lens    840mm    f/5.6    1/1250s    800 ISO    0.0 EV  






4 of 4 They wander into the Bush

  Canon EOS 7D    EF600mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4x lens    840mm    f/5.6    1/250s    800 ISO    +1.0 EV  




Dec 01, 2012 at 06:41 PM
Harry.C
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Lovely images and interesting situation Scott. I hope you have lots of opportunity to return to the area and follow-up on the female.

Cheers,
Harry C



Dec 01, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Tim Kuhn
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


the lens performed well but the snow performed better I like the dry humor there Scott

Fascinating story and unfortunately I do believe she may not make it.

I really like the first two, as a matter of fact I think 2 is a super shot. There is a bit too much snow in the last two but they do tell a story and if I was there I would have taken them

It must have been a wonderful experience to sit and observe this scene. Time well spent

Tim

Edited on Dec 01, 2012 at 08:59 PM · View previous versions



Dec 01, 2012 at 07:08 PM
KCollett
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Good set, and interesting story. Thanks Scott.


Dec 01, 2012 at 07:51 PM
CDaescher
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Great shots and interesting story. Thanks for sharing, Scott.
# 2 is my pick.
Chris



Dec 01, 2012 at 08:11 PM
louie champan
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Super set of images, well done.


Dec 01, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Harry.C: I am usually in this spot every 2nd weekend. Its about an hour from my house. Glad you liked the story. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott


Tim Kuhn: It was more like wet humor I think you are right that only the 2nd makes it as a picture that could stand by itself. He was a big healthy bull. Glad you like the story. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott


KCollett: Glad you like the story. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott


CDaescher: Glad you like 2. He is a good looking moose. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott


louie champan: Glad you like the story and images. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott



Dec 01, 2012 at 09:11 PM
PaulCal
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


I am really liking these, especially the second one and given the ISO 5000, its remarkable.
What a majestic animal.

Paul



Dec 01, 2012 at 09:34 PM
moosehead222
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


excellent without the description but the story adds so much. Thanks


Dec 01, 2012 at 09:41 PM
dalite
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Nice shots and narrative, Scott. From your past posts of visit to Kananaskis i thought that was quite a far distance southwest from Calgary, but upon checking the map I now note that Canmore and Kananaskis is more toward Banff.

Nature works, sometimes in ways we don't like to admit.



Dec 01, 2012 at 10:08 PM
 

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Scott Stoness
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


PaulCal: 7d at 5000 iso is impressive. I can hardly wait for the 7dii. Glad you like the moose. They are majestic. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott


moosehead222: Sometimes when the pictures are weak, it helps to add the story For me wildlife photography is as much about being there as getting the picture. Glad you like them. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott


dalite: The gates of Kananaskis are about 30 minutes from my house and the moose area is about 60 minutes. As you note, it is more west than southwest. Nature is tough. I am glad to be human. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott



Dec 01, 2012 at 10:21 PM
morris
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


I love the second and the third is real nice to Scott

Morris



Dec 01, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Morris: The 3rd has some emotional appeal - too bad the snow was so thick at that moment. Glad you like them. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott


Dec 01, 2012 at 11:58 PM
kmunroe
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


a sweet set Scott .. #2 is my favorite


Dec 02, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Scott Stoness
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Kmuroe: Glad you like 2. Thanks for the feedback. Much appreciated. Scott


Dec 02, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Bliz
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Both animals are bulls.


Dec 02, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Bliz
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Note the dark face, large-ish dewlap and most notably the scab where the antler has shed. Nice snowy shots Scott but I wouldnt write him off just yet, I've seen moose I never thought had a chance return the following Fall...tough critters.


Dec 02, 2012 at 04:40 AM
Charlie Shugart
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Wonderful images, Scott.
And also very enjoyable information accompanying it.
We tend to assume that wild animals act only by instinct, and because moose aren't herding animals, the males only associate with females because of the mating instinct.
This scenario reminds me of a long-standing suspicion of mine: large mammals are smart, and these two probably know each other, so... do moose ever become "friends?"
I hesitate to say no.
Charlie



Dec 02, 2012 at 05:12 AM
waldr_p
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


I'm really liking these shots Scott - especially considering the conidtions you were faced with. These are really atmospheric and illustrate the intensity of the elements these animals have to face.

Sad that one of these two fine animals is injured but I'm sure the wolves will be glad of anything that comes their way!

Paul.



Dec 02, 2012 at 11:50 AM
eyelaser
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Moose in Winter at Kananaskis


Scott...the background story is super. Love learning stuff from people who really know things. The photos are substantially better than you let on with the 2nd being really excellent. The others are more than just fine and really do help with your narrative.
Eric



Dec 02, 2012 at 02:05 PM
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