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on Oct 30, 2018 in Wildlife Photography

What Do the Ears Say?

Alaskan Moose
captured by D5 / 180-400VR

It’s such a little thing (those them ears are huge!), the direction of the ears on ungulates. Moose, deer, elk and all hooved animals use their ears to tell them lots of things, the main being which way is trouble coming from. They are constantly pivoting them to take inventory of everything around them. Bull Moose use them along with this to listen for the moans of cows. Those big racks are like a disk and they turn their ears to listen to all the sounds that come in. It really is a remarkable adaptation they use with great accuracy. Since the Moose don’t smile or frown or have any real facial movement, it’s their ears that do all the talking. So what do you want your ungulate to say?

Alaskan Moose
captured by D5 / 180-400VR

Here are two quick clicks to illustrate my point. Shooting with the D5 / 180-400VR a split second apart, you can see how with the ears forward (the desired position of ears) the Moose is engaging the viewer. With the ears back, the Moose looks pensive, afraid or even aggressive. Now there are other body gestures that make the ears back better or worse. But it all starts with the ears so watch them as you deal with buck fever. Always ask yourself, “what do the ears day?”

Alaskan Moose
captured by D5 / 180-400VR

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