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An Amorous Bull Moose, Rejected During The Rut

Sue Cedarholm Paints Alces Alces In Watercolor Diary

One of the joys of being on the lookout for wildlife is that you never know what is going to happen.

While waiting for a grizzly and her two cubs to come out of the woods recently, I was surprised when a huge bull moose walked by. In rut, he was chasing two moose cows who, snorting, wouldn’t have anything to do with him.

All around Jackson Hole, the bull elk have been bugling, too.

Fleeing, and with him in hot pursuit, the cow moose kept up a good pace engaging in evasive maneuvers from their determined suitor. Finally, the bull gave up and they disappeared into the forest.

At this time of year, wildlife sensory perception seems to be on overload. After his courtship gestures, the bull found the scent trail of a grizzly and followed the bear’s path, stopping to sniff and assess the terrain.

What you see in this painting is the bull on high alert. The brush is so tall he is nearly hidden. The little bit of sun highlights his massive antlers.

Moose in some parts of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, I’m told, are having a difficult time persisting.

As I was standing there in in these glory days of autumn photographing this magnificent bull, knowing I would soon put the camera down and make a painting, I realized how rare it is to have a parade of major wildlife available to us and never far away.  It’s part of our identity in Greater Yellowstone and good for our collective souls. It one of the reasons why many of us choose to live here. 
Sue Cedarholm
About Sue Cedarholm

Jackson Hole-based Sue Cedarholm is a multi-media artist—painter, photographer and maker of nature-themed, wearable apparel.  You can find all of the works in her ongoing series at Watercolor Diary.
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