Friday, May 16, 2008

A - Hunting We Will Go... Moose Skull


One day John went hunting.... this is what he got... found on the forest floor...

No... the rest of the beast did not come home with him... just this... Slim pickens... at first I thought...


But no... if not our bellies filled... it allowed the feeding of something else within us ... one of the understanding of nature.... that forms every mammal.



This structure of the Moose skull was intriguing to examine... 24" from base to tip of nose... the sheer size alone was something to behold... even with the antlers chewed off... from a passing porcupine or two... showing another step in how this creature fit into the food chain..



Huge worn teeth... that chewed a cud... before he became part of the process...



The teeth are barely held in place now... due to the wearing away of the skull... which allowed the inquiry of how the teeth were held in place .... how large the roots were.... and how far back they went into the skull...

When I shook it ... it click-itty-click jangled like a musical instrument...



Lichens have taken up residence on most of the upper surface...



...A beauty in themselves...


...Feeding on the bone in the never-ending cycle... death feeding life...



I keep it outdoors in the garden... and watch this process continue as the years go by...



Moose... Alces alces... 6' - 9' tall... largest deer in the world... horse size...dk. brown hair... high humped shoulders... huge pendulous muzzle... males have massive palmate antlers, broadly flattened... spread 4'-5'

... cloven hoof prints usually more than 5" long and pointed... poor eyesight, actually moose are color-blind, but have excellent hearing and sense of smell to compensate... very good swimmers,up to 6 mph... and runners, 35 mph... mothers are extremely aggressive and very protective of their calves...

...habitat is spruce forests and swamps... most of Canada, upper regions of United States... when black flies and mosquitoes torment them in summer, they may nearly submerge themselves in lakes...or roll in a wallow to acquire a protective coating...

...Moose are browsers rather than grazers... love waterlilies, aquatic and marsh plants, twigs, buds, aspen, dogwood, cherry, maple , viburnum.... also peeled -off willow and poplar bark and leaves stripped with their bottom lip...

...tend to be solitary animals..


They visit us every now and then...

11 comments:

Sharon said...

..Feeding on the bone in the never-ending cycle... death feeding life...

That's beautiful, as is that great skull. Definitely a bountiful hunt!

Ruth said...

What a lush and sumptuous post about this brother in nature. So much respect and admiration, appreciation for a fellow creature, who is majestic and real too. Your thoughts, writing and photos touched me. Thank you. I like how your mind works.

Sandy said...

Fascinating read today. Really enjoyed seeing the photos and learning about it!

s

Anet said...

Moose... I love their sweet eyes. I have never seen a moose in person. We do have them in the U.P. but I have never been lucky enough to enjoy their company. You're photos and words are a wonderful tribute to this moose! Thanks Gwen

Gwen Buchanan said...

here I am talking about skulls again, Girls... can't seem to get my fill..We see their hoof prints very often in the soft soil at the edges of the driveway...sometimes very lg. and sometimes med... much bigger and broader than the eastern whitetail deer prints...

We have had personal visits in the field quite a few times... once a couple yrs. ago, a pair visited about this time of year. They are really, really big!!
I had just planted my garden and had sectioned it off with cedar sticks with lots of strings attached to define the rows and to deter the dogs...Of course they headed right over in that direction...
I could just imagine them running thru and getting all tangled up and the sticks pulling out and flowing along behind them and them getting spooked and going haywire...... so we ran down to shoo them off in another direction... then I remembered they sometimes charge if they get bothered... so I hid behind a tree and started yelling to John "watch out they might charge"...
the moose just ran around the garden and never bothered a thing... Probably looked like a giant spiderweb to them... and we prob. looked like silly human things!!

Anet said...

Gwen, maybe you should put up a
"scaremoose" buddy of the scarecrow.

Gwen Buchanan said...

That's cute, Anet!!!

Ruth said...

Oh imagine having them come into your yard. Amazing. The only one I've seen was on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon when I was in college. I was hiking along, by myself at that moment, trudging up the trail, came around a curve in the forest, and THERE RIGHT THERE about 10 feet from me was a fabulous HUGE moose. We stared at each other, incredulous. Then he gave in and ran away. His running sounded like a herd of elephants through the forest. I have been awestruck by these creatures since then. They're different in person than on TV!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Well Ruth, I see you have had a close encounter with this great animal... they are so striking... Sticks with you doesn't it!!

I would have thought the woods of Michigan would be full of them... or are there any "woods of Michigan"?

Don said...

I love finding things like that in the woods. Mostly because it means you are out there and not doing anything else but wandering and looking at nature. I was on the phone the other day talking to our son while wandering through the woods looking for morels andI found a possum skull. He laughed as I described the finding of it as it was something a little unusual for him. Alas, The southern half of the lower peninsula is full of small forests. However, the farther north you go, the larger they become and if you look at a map of Michigan, you will se that most of the U.P. is National Forest, complete with a growing population of wolves!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Don that is so interesting to hear about the growing population of wolves in your northern woods/parkland... there must be a good food source there for them.. and it must still have plenty of wilderness...
and I am so impressed that you found a possum skull... we don't have possums here... thanks for telling me about it..