Here is the Largest Moose Bull in this area just entering the Moose Rut as the last bits of Velvet hang from his impressive Rack. He was moving with purpose here, but took His time crossing Maligne River's higher than usual water flow. It is a bit early for the Moose Rut, but Mr. Big was vocalizing consistently and clearly looking for Cows to Court.
We were lucky to witness this huge bull courting a receptive cow during the Moose Rut. The active peak of rutting season for moose is generally the first two weeks of October. Farther North in the hemisphere is earlier as South is a bit later. Moose bulls may court cows for several days during their mating season. The largest and heaviest of the Deer family can often be seen in groups during this time, with both Bulls and Cows potentially competing for mates. Moose Bulls will chase off or even fight rivals for mating rights, while cows that occupy the same area may also chase each other away from a favorite bull moose. You can hear some vocalizations between the bull and cow along with seeing some very rare behavior in these gentle giants.
Being the most common tumor reported among moose, these growths are likely benign fibromas, a wart like growth protruding from the skin. The fibromas can be smooth or appear cauliflower shaped, ranging in size from a few millimeters to over 10 centimeters in diameter. They can be hairy or bald in nature. These growths can be in multiples and can become infected with bacteria if cut and do look quite gross, but they apparently do the Moose no harm. Eventually these sores will regress and disappear. Bulls are typically fine and Moose Cows with these growths will continue to have healthy offspring.
Big Bull Moose with one broken antler likely due to a fight with the larger Bull, also seen here courting a cow during the rut. Two younger Bulls also stayed in the mix following the largest Bull and Cow with persistence. These two young fellas performed a bit of sparring exercise that shows quite a difference in size between the two. Another Cow(was with the Bull with one antler) gives us a great demonstration of her reach in these beautiful Fall colors. All of these Moose were in very close proximity to each other.
The third Big Bull Moose pursuing a cow with a calf during the Moose Rut. You can hear lots of vocalizations between the Cow and Bull in this video. Most cow moose during the rut have an estrous cycle that lasts 24-25 days, however, cows may only be receptive to bulls for a brief 15-27 hour period. Here, the Big Bull smells the urine of this cow and follows with his Flehmen Response.. which is how a Bull Moose investigates the cow's readiness to mate. This Big Bull continued to pursue the Cow, but another arrival caused them all to take a step back. The arrival of another young large Bull caused a bit of a gentle dance and lots more vocalizations, but no real conflicts as He moved off shortly after seeing the larger Bull. All of these gentle Giants looked very healthy and happy, which is wonderful to witness.
This Moose Calf was gone the very next day. Moose calves will stay with their Mother at least until breeding season in their second year of growth. Once estrus starts during Moose rutting season, a moose cow will often chase away her young bull calf in it's second year, while female moose calves may stay with or near their mothers for several years. Moose mothers typically do not chase female calves away; rather they will eventually wander away, but almost always stay near their home territory. Sorry for some blur and darkness(it was late).. these were not ideal conditions and we wanted to give lots of room.
An amazing Bull Moose Warming Up for His Rut Season in Canada's Rockies. You can hear him communicating if you listen closely. This Bull Moose spent some time with 2 different females within just a couple hours in one day, but the companionship didn't last yet on this day.
The second Mating Pair seen this Moose Rut, with this being the Largest Bull Moose seen in this area of the Canadian Rockies. All three looking very Healthy, this happy big Calf is possibly his as well. They spent a few days together before being seen mating and later in that evening, this big Bull decided to move on to another territory in search of another Cow.. disappearing in the forest after using this bridge to cross the river. You can hear some of the vocalizations between this Bull and Cow in the video.
The Gentle Giant of Canada's Rockies; here are several Moose during the Fall and around the Rutting Season. The beginning offers an opportunity to hear some vocalizing between a Bull and Cow during an encounter.
Three of the Healthiest Bull Moose we have seen in this small area, at one time. This year, the Canadian Rockies rainfall seemed to be above normal and temperatures were a little warmer, enabling moose vegetation to be available longer. Even higher altitudes showed thick green grass and trees up until just a few days ago(of these captures). For Moose here, this was very good, as they are certainly looking more Healthy and Heavier than normally seen in this area of Canada's Rockies. These three amazing specimens are currently occupying overlapping territories that will likely cause paths to cross during the Rut again very shortly.