Five years ago while I was on a beautiful hike on the East Coast Trail, I heard a suspicious sound coming from the forest.
I stopped dead in my tracks and tried to find the source. From deep within the bushes, a big brown snout appeared, it sniffed a branch and proceeded to nibble on it. It was a moose, of course.
Since I was upwind from the creature and very quiet, I was able to observe it feeding off the branches for several minutes without being noticed.
After a while I became confident I could get a nice photo of the beast, so I quietly unpacked and mounted the right lens on my camera. I had a 500mm with me, but long lenses are rarely useful in confined spaces so I gambled on getting lucky and put on a wide angle lens instead, before starting my stealthy approach.
Now, it’s nearly impossible to move silently in a forest so the moose soon noticed me: every time I stepped on a twig the animal paused and looked my way. Minutes passed between these sounds, and as our gazes locked I decided to speak out to the moose, allowing it to get used to my presence without having to guess where I was. Moose have poor eyesight so smells and sounds are what they use to locate you.
After a few minutes of getting to know each other the moose was no longer nervous, it accepted the new noises of me and my camera and continued to munch on the leaves undisturbed:More hikers were coming, I heard them approach and so did the moose. The hikers stopped when they saw my tripod and bags abandoned by the side of the trail, then they spotted me, then the moose. Thankfully they didn’t make too much noise and they soon moved on. The moose relaxed again and quietly walked off into the forest.
I returned to the trail to collect my things, tucked them away in a better location and followed the moose deeper into the forest. When I found it again it allowed me to get quite close, then quite unexpectedly and without hesitation the moose approached me to get a closer look:Yes, it was me again, the scrappy photographer. We stared at each other for a few minutes that felt like a whole hour, and I couldn’t help but notice this moose was far more impressive now it was standing right in front of me…
After our close encounter the moose walked off into the forest again and I steadied my nerves by walking in the opposite direction, retrieving my camera bag and finding a nice quiet place to sit down on the cliffs for a moment. Phew.