Moose Hunting (Part 2)

I’d not been truly confident of seeing Moose. Of all the things we had pegged out to see Moose was the most incidental; a ‘perhaps’ species during our visit to Quebec. Sat here in the forest of the Matane Refuge half dozing in the heat I consoled myself that I was at least catching up on a little rest. A six hour time adjustment flying from Heathrow was taking its toll.

A crack of a branch alerted me. I nudged Sharon. Nothing! Then as I refocused my gaze through the trees I could see a shape. It was like one of those hidden pictures where you can’t initially see what you’re looking at. A dark shape materialised. Where it came from I don’t know but there it was, some 30 metres away. Right there, still and alert. Two things struck me; How dark it was and how big it was. I had hope for a female at best maybe with a calf if we were lucky. No, this was a big male sporting full headgear. I don’t know if I whispered it to Sharon or myself but I remember quietly saying ‘It’s a dinosaur’

I fired off a shot or two; hardly daring to move. This may be my only chance. Then it moved. Not away from us but closer to the pool. Closer to us. He walked slowly hardly making a sound. A few paces at a time then froze as he held his head alert listening for any telltale sounds of danger. He slowly came to the edge of the pool and began to drink … and drink … and drink. I expected him to leave but no he moved closer to us wading out into the water and into the late afternoon sun drenching the pool from the canopy above. He was now just 10 metres away and we held our breath for what seemed like an age. Each time I took a series of shots he could obviously hear the shutter but perhaps tolerated our intrusion so desperate was he to quench his thirst. All told we had watched him for around 20 minutes before he urinated (at length) and then slowly moved away back into the forest.

What a magnificent animal. Those 20 minutes are, and will remain, an imprinted memory that will never leave me.


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September 2012
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