Algonquin Park is one of those special, quintessential Canadian experiences. Hiking, camping, canoeing and Moose-spotting are favourite Canadian past times in this part of Ontario, and when is the best time of year to spot Moose? Spring time!
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Algonquin Park more times than I can remember, including guiding groups of tourists around parts of the park. I’ve always had a soft spot for this park because of it’s impressive wildlife watching opportunities, with Moose being the #1 desired animal for me, and pretty much everyone else.
The most Moose I’ve seen in one day was 13 (in Springtime of course), but despite there being so many of these odd looking creatures in the park, most of my summer visits have resulted in seeing no Moose. How come? Well, they’re just so good at camouflage!
Take a look at this photo. This is the same Moose that was pictured above. But after slipping only a few feet into the bush, all you can see is a silhouette. The springtime vegetation was just starting to fill in during this trip, so if this Moose was standing there in summer, he’d be totally hidden by leaves and branches. If you’re driving or walking by, you probably won’t notice this shadowy figure. Especially after he takes a few more steps deeper into the forest and virtually cloaks himself in darkness.
That is the trick with these giants of the forest, they’re just so hard to spot sometimes! While spring is the best season to spot them – less vegetation, and they like to be near roadways, getting salty nutrients after a long winter – any season is a good time to go looking for Moose.
In summer, thankfully they love eating water lilies so spotting a Moose while canoeing down a lake is always a possibility in Algonquin. The same goes for autumn, but by then you have the added bonus of leaves changing colours and the male Moose will be sporting impressive, large antlers. In winter, finding animals like Moose in the park is made more fun by being able to see their tracks in the snow.
Now, in general, the Moose tend to like grazing open waterhole and grassy areas, like this guy was. But not during the heat of the day in summer. They like to take shelter in the shade then, so it’s always best to look for Moose in the early morning and late evening hours, after sunrise and before sunset.
This particular Moose was one of 9 I saw on a day trip to go canoeing in Algonquin Park with Algonquin Outfitters, a trip organized by Explorer’s Edge. Some people I was with said they saw 14 or so Moose that day, but my eyes couldn’t spot them all!
A lot of people laugh at the weirdness of these creatures. They look awkward, being so tall, and have odd faces. This guy also happens to be one of my favourite Moose I’ve seen in all my visits to Algonquin. His antlers are starting to grow, with a smooth, furry “velvet” on them, but his fur is still matty and ugly-looking from the winter.
Have you ever seen a Moose in the wild? What do you think of these Moose pictures? Is he cute? Ugly? Weird-looking?
Editorial note: While I am always looking for my next great outdoor adventure, this particular experience was compliments of the great people at Explorer’s Edge, who sent me on a 3-day “Quintessentially Canadian” tour in Ontario as part of the TBEX Toronto conference.