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Page 47 - Two Encounters with Moose: Clarence Barrett in the Highlands

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1992/8/1 (291 reads)

Two Encounters with Moose Continued from Inside Front Cover Clarence Barrett Continues... I called him and he stopped and looked di? rectly at the spot where I was hiding. It was the beginning of the mating season and the bulls were on the move looking for eli? gible cows. After half a minute I called again and in a few moments he started to move in my direction. I was feeling rather satisfied that I was able to change him from his intended course. That is, until he came alongside a small tamarack tree and stopped to take some swipes at it with his antlers. Uh oh. I thought, what did I do that for? He raised his head and studied the spot where I was crouching, then start? ed walking again. Maybe he was just scratching his antlers. I tried reassuring myself. But it wasn't working. He stopped again. I thought for a moment that he might turn toward another direction but after a minute or so he moved forward again. It's amazing just how accurately these an? imals can pinpoint the exact location where they hear a female calling from. He was getting closer now, moving along through a thicket of spruce so that all I could see was his huge rack moving above the brush. When he got clear of this tuck? amoor he approached another small tree and started swinging at it and shoving against it with his antlers. By this time I was starting to lose my nerve and looked around for a better place to hide. There wasn't a tree over a man's height for over a hundred meters. Boy, this fellow is in for a rude suprise when he finds out that I'm not what he thinks I am. I'd been crouching down in a patch of shrubs along? side a more open stretch of bog. I thought maybe he'd walk along the bog and go by without noticing me and I'd still be able to get a couple of shots of him. He moved along until he was about thirty meters off to one side of my hiding place --and then changed his course directly to? wards me! Well, now was the time to let him in on my little joke and give him plenty of time to avoid having to make a sudden rash decision. I stood up and took a picture. He stopped in his tracks and stared at me. Next he lowered his head. Was this the sign that he was about to charge, or was it when they laid their an? tlers back with their head held high? In any case there wasn't very much I could do about it The two photographs of moose in the Highlands are copied from Clarence Barrett's slides. He raised his head. There were no particu? lar thoughts going through my mind at this time; it was blank except for the indeli? ble image of that splendid animal in his dark chocolate-brown coat and tan-colored antlers. Normally I would have walked right up to him until he moved away. But it was different now. This was the begin? ning of the rut, the season for which all summer long these impressive animals had been preparing; accumulating stores of en? ergy and developing into their prime con? dition in order to meet the stresses of the mating season and the long winter ahead. The bulls were on the make, full of vigour and determination. Some of them, perhaps this fellow, would be frustrated by having their newly-awakened instincts thwarted by a bigger rival or by some re? calcitrance on the part of their prospec? tive mates, and would be ready to take on all comers, including tamarack trees and 125-pound two-leggers, in their quest to assure the preservation of their kind. And they don't grow those massive antlers eve? ry year for nothing. I'd just seen an ex? ample of what use they could be put to. I was scared. Don't ask me why I didn't go earlier when I had the chance. I can't ex? plain why. It was certainly something more than just a wish to get a photograph that made me stay there in spite of my fear. WAYNE WEATHERBEE, DIRECTOR INTRODUCING THE Sydney Memorial Chapel Funeral Information Line • 567-2222 • The Sydney Memorial Chapel Funera Information Line is a discreet, convenient way to obtain accurate and up-to-date information regarding funerals, including dates and times, as well as information regarding the deceased. The Funeral Information Line is a 24-hour service. 49 Welton Street, Sydney • 539-0500 A NON-DENOMINATIONAL FUNERAL CHAPEL
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