Story Behind the Pictures by Todd Yankauskas
Every morning I woke up about an hour before sunrise to set out in search of moose to photograph. It did not take long to figure out the routine that these moose had each morning. Along the Gros Ventre River was a good area to find the bulls as they fed in the willows along the river. Normally, my first sighting was much to early to take photographs. So patience was a must. It would be cold many of these mornings and the ground would be wet from the moisture that accumulated over night. But as the sun rose above the mountains the fun began.
Everyday I learned a lot about the subject that I was photographing. Just watching for hours on end was a class given by nature herself. For the couple of weeks in late August and early September that we traveled, I did notice a bit of change in the behavior of the bulls that I watched. The biggest change that I noticed was that they appeared a bit more agitated. Towards the end of our stay I would witness them just standing in a single spot for a period of time just to suddenly jump and almost start bucking around like a bull in a bull-fight for minutes on end. After the conclusion of that strange episode, they would concentrate on scratching their antlers up against a solid object. Then they would feed and repeat the process all over again. After a while they would find a spot away from any open area and sit down and rest for as long as two or more hours before getting up and feeding. It seemed like only a matter of time before the velvet came off of the antlers. Unfortunately, I would not be around to witness that event.
I also photographed moose along the Snake River. Finally, coming back from Grand Teton National Park one morning I hit the bonus. As I was driving along the road, I was making the turn onto the street that our cabin was on when, I spotted this bull moose in the field only a couple hundred yards from where we were staying. Thinking that my kids would enjoy this guy I decided to park the car, fetch them and walk back to the moose. As we were walking a cow and a calf walked out in front of us, which made me second guess myself on the original gender of the moose that I saw. The two moose walked across the street and into the woods alongside the road. Soon after that, my thoughts were collected when I heard the sounds of the bull moose calling out to the cow and calf. For about ten minutes at the most, this went on between the cow and the bull until the two found each other and moved on. Not a bad ending to an already great morning!
The moose in Jackson Hole treated me and many others well. A very majestic animal that seems to be getting harder to find as time goes on. Lets hope that they continue to stay healthy for generations to come so that this planet can continue to enjoy their presence.
Show how much you like moose!