Watching a Moose Strip his Velvet Covered Antlers
If you have noticed in my moose photos the last little while, the bulls still have the velvet on their antlers. This is the time of year when they can lose that velvet, at any time. I have been lucky a time or two in the past to catch this, and I was lucky again the other morning.
This is Washakie. He was spotted early in the morning in the sage brush flats. Obviously the velvet was peeling off his antlers. To give you an idea of how long this took, this photo was taken at 7:00am.
I don’t know how this must feel. I would think itchy, definitely bothersome. The velvet is a living, growing part of the antlers until it’s ready to come off. The antlers are bloody red, so I would guess it maybe feels like a fresh scab.
Washakie stopped at the first tree he came too, and rubbed and rubbed his antlers.
These motion shots gives you an idea of what’s going on. He is not gently rubbing, but really going at it.
So far, not much success. He has got rid of some, but not all of the velvet.
In this shot, and the one above, he has a long strip of the velvet in his mouth. I don’t know if he was trying to eat it, or just hoping to pull it off his antler more.
After another tussle with another tree, he seems to have just made things more complicated for himself.
I like the look though.
It’s all the rage in moose men’s wear. The ladies love it.
He soon shook all that off and moved on to another bush. This photo was shot at 7:20am.
Maybe this little dead tree can help.
After scraping, and tussling he had most of the velvet stripped. This shot was 7:27am.
Another try, on another tree. I think he was going for the extra manly look here.
7:31am. Clean, sharp, and ready to go. He has one small piece left on that back tine, but I think he felt better about it all.
7:44am. He laid down, and seemed pretty wore out. I can only imagine.
I went back to one of the bushes and found a piece of velvet. It was amazingly soft, like soft animal fur. Pretty cool thing to see, and feel.
All these shots were taken with a long telephoto lens. Never, ever, at any time do I get close to these guys. They are wild animals, and as such, are unpredictable. The rules in the National Park state you must be no closer than 25 yards from moose, bison, deer, and elk. 100 yards for bears. I am a big rule follower when it comes to the safety of the animals, and myself.