Something wild: Moose in Little River State Park, Waterbury

Hiking in Little River State Park in Waterbury on Saturday, I figured that I would be safe enough even though this is the last weekend of deer hunting season. I saw lots of signs of hunting groups in the woods but didn't meet anyone, and like last weekend, didn't hear any gunshots (see here for more about why caution is needed in the woods at this time of year).

This area is prime moose habitat, I encountered a moose in almost exactly the same spot earlier this year, and it's very mucky, so moose tracks are usually plainly visible in the mud.

As I worked my way uphill I saw a yearling calf browsing out of the corner of my eye, and instead of rushing right over to take a look I managed to get organized, get my camera out, check the settings, and worked my way through the thick underbrush, snow cover made it easier to move relatively quietly. As I got closer I realized that the yearling was not alone: Mother emerged from behind an evergreen to check me out. These pictures don't do justice to how big this animal was: I was looking up at her. My presence eventually did disturb the pair and they moved off but not before I managed to get these pictures.

I consider myself very fortunate to live so close to a big patch of undeveloped public land, it is one of my favorite places to get away from crowds, noise and the distractions of my life (image from World Wind and my GPS).

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