Most would consider themselves lucky if they managed to spot one moose along their hike. But when a Quebec man went for a snowy walk in Gaspésie National Park last week, he was surrounded.
Éric Deschamps embarked on his hike through the park in the early morning hours of November 1. He was on Mont Ernet-Laforce when he noticed four moose surrounding him, including a massive bull.
Deschamps later described the once-in-a-lifetime encounter as “the most special and the most intense moment” he’s experienced in his life, which is why he’s lucky to have captured it all on camera.
Deschamps posted the video to Facebook later that day, and in less than a week, it’s amassed more than 700,000 views and 19,000 shares. It’s also been picked up by news outlets around the country.
Although Dechamps’ camera is initially focused on the giant bull moose to his left, one of the females grabs his attention as it begins moving toward his tripod. Eventually, it tips over the tripod and begins sucking on one of its legs. Unconcerned with his equipment, Dechamps lets out a little laugh.
But when the moose got bored with the equipment Dechamps says his mind began to race.
“I looked around me to see where I could go to protect myself,” he told CBC News.
Although moose are generally docile, slow-moving animals, they can get extremely aggressive during the rut, or if they’re angered or startled in some way.
With nowhere to hide in the open, snow-covered landscape, Dechamps says that he began to shake. Although his shakiness isn’t evident in the video, his breathing does get deep and unsteady at times. He told CBC that he chose to narrate the video so that viewers could get a better sense of how he felt in that moment.
“So people can feel my fear; they can feel my stress.”
But based on the comments left on his video, viewers hardly noticed. In fact, some applauded him for keeping his cool as well as he did. Many others congratulated him for getting so close.
“People who have ben here for 60, 70 years are telling me they never lived something like that,” says Dechamps, who moved to the region from Montreal five months ago. He says this is exactly the type of experience he was searching for when he moved out of the city.