Spring may be when a young man’s fancy turns to love, but up here at tree line if you’re a moose it’s fall. Canyon Blog managed to capture local bachelor and amorous ungulate Bullwinkle in action with the help of remote equipment and local photographer Zach Spilinek last week.
As we headed up Albion Basin to film a speedwing flight (subject for a future blog) Bullwinkle came ambling up slope. This is not necessarily a good thing as rut sends bulls into a particularly unstable state of mind, making prediction of what happens next anything but a sure bet. It was then the plot thickened, from the creekside bush stumbled a dewy-eyed Natasha into the open.
We beat a hasty retreat for higher ground to see what happened. Was Bullwinkle, a stout and studly looking but young bull, likely to make a play?
Here it might be good point out a few facts. Cow moose choose their mates based on rack. So… the old adage size matters would appear to hold true, at least for moose. Bullwinkle was handsome but not particularly well endowed (in the antler department, the only one we cared to assess) and since Wasatch moose are the smallest subspecies he was already batting below .500. Because moose are dirurnal (active during the day) an Indian summer morning was the perfect time to make his move. This leads to another interesting fact, to Europeans American moose are more properly considered elk whereas our elk are considered red deer. Those crazy Europeans. Adding to old world idiosyncrasy are the Swedes, no strangers to odd notions, who once considered proposing moose for mail delivery. Now there’s a solid concept. Moose also have two layers of fur, one of which is hollow, aiding in insulative properties and floatation, handy if you weigh ¾ of a ton.
Meanwhile back in Albion Basin as Bullwinkle wandered closer to Natasha his gait took on more purpose. Which leads to another fact, moose can kick in every direction so there’s no best angle to approach. Prolonged eye contact is a bad sign and if their hackles are up you can bet he’s going to charge. This leads to another interesting tidbit worth bearing in mind as you wander across Little Cottonwood Canyon, moose injure more humans than any other wild animal in North America.
From a safe distance your correspondent is happy to report that Bullwinkle must have had the goods or at least a great pick up line because he was last seen giving Natasha a loving sniff around her rear. Knowing love would triumph we went on our way leaving the young couple to, well, couple.