Saturday, March 6, 2010

In search of the elusive LaFramboise moose

If you would have asked me two years ago where to photograph moose in South Dakota I would have said, "Beats me, I don't think you can find one." Last summer a young bull moose was spotted and photographed several times in the southern and central Black Hills. Unfortunately a poacher ended the fun and hasn't been apprehended.

Now people have been seeing a cow moose on LaFramboise Island in the Missouri River between Pierre and Fort Pierre. She's been spotted several times in the last few weeks and photographed at least once. Check out Kevin Woster's outdoor blog at the Rapid City Journal for the picture taken by Dave Pfahler last Saturday.

I spent two hours on the island this morning in search of my own photos of the moose. I was successful at seeing a lot of pheasants, some whitetail deer rumps disappearing into the trees, eagles, hawks, and one set of moose tracks. No moose, though. I'm going to start calling her "Bigfoot" and wonder out loud if it was just a guy in a moose suit.

Here are a LaFramboise Island moose track and a typical deer track for size comparison.

All was not lost photographically, though. This hawk sat around long enough for me to capture his image.

I've heard a lot of speculation about how the moose got on the island in the first place. I don't know where she came from or where she might end up, but I know she could have crossed the Missouri River fairly easily. My friend Scott Howard and I watched this bull swim the Snake River in Wyoming back in 2006. He didn't have much trouble with it at all.

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