The Alaska art print “Places to Go…” features a close-up profile of a young moose in Gustavus, Alaska.  Living remotely in a small Alaska community means having wildlife neighbors like this moose, and occasionally having a friendly visit! The glacial outwash plain where Gustavus is located, the Gustavus Forelands, is unusually flat compared with most of rugged, mountainous Southeast Alaska. Each winter moose congregate here to feed on the abundant willow shrubs and meadow grasses exposed by wind.

Here’s the story behind the image: The moose ambles across the meadow outside my window, heading towards the beach.  He’s a very positive guy.  When they are agitated or upset, moose ears are pinned back.  You can tell by the forward slant of this one’s ears, he’s completely at ease and focused on his mission.  Winter activity is limited to eating and resting/digesting, so it’s safe to assume he’s looking for lunch.  This one is solo, though it’s likely he’ll meet up with others before long, as this is an area rich in the scrub willow just perfect for their winter diet, plenty enough to share. There’s a lot of browse in the quarter mile stretch between here and the beach bordering Icy Strait, providing a hefty meal without having to expend too much effort – always a good thing.

What captures my attention is the easy way he navigates the uneven meadow vegetation on those long skinny legs! He is graceful and as sure-footed as if he’s walking a wide path, leaving prints in the snow.  Then I see how sunlight touches the rich brown of his coat, a deep brown, complex and variegated. Fur on the legs is a lighter color, and it’s quite amazing how well their coloring helps them blend into the woods.  Now, of course, he’s out in the open with snow for a backdrop, perfect for a clear shot, and I take it.  Thankfully, the dogs are napping in another part of the house, and the whole incident goes by without them having anything to say about it.

Bulls grow their antlers new each year in spring, shedding them in winter.  As the animal ages, the annual antlers come in larger and larger, and hunters must pay close attention to the number of brow tines on a bull in their sights to make sure it meets minimum size regulations.  My visitor on this day has already shed his crown for the year, so it’s somewhat of a less dramatic sight than it would have been earlier in the fall.  But I also appreciate the sense of this moose going about his everyday business: no fuss, no drama, just lunch! 

Moose photography Wildlife Art by Lillian Ruedrich.  Love this image? Buy it here as a 5X7 notecard or 11X14 matted giclee print.  Or click here to buy more unique Alaska artwork for sale.