GRAND LAKE, Colo. (CBS4) – A photograph of a moose in the Arapahoe National Forest and posted on a Colorado photographer’s Facebook page is spreading quickly on social media sites.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The reason? The antlers look like they belong to an elk, not a moose.

CBS4 Mountain Newsroom reporter Matt Kroschel headed up to Grand County to find out if it’s real or if the photo was faked.

John Williams, a professional photographer by trade, has taken a lot of photos in his decades behind the lens.

“Been to Alaska. I’ve been to Maine. I’ve been here since 94 and I’ve never seen any rack like this that looks just like an elk,” he told CBS4.

John Williams (credit: CBS)

John Williams (credit: CBS)

So when he was out hunting recently and came across the bull moose with the strange looking antlers he knew he needed proof.

“I grabbed my phone instantly. Since I didn’t have my real camera with me did the best I could with that, but you can see it does look like an elk and and not a moose,” he said.

Lyle Sidener (credit: CBS)

Lyle Sidener (credit: CBS)

Lyle Sidener of Colorado Parks and Wildlife told CBS4 this type of thing is more common than you might think.

“It is not typical, but it’s not I would say unusual. We’ve seen it before,” he said.

Wildlife managers have not spotted the bull that was photographed before, but they do have evidence from similar looking antlers in other bulls over the years.

While the antlers might look like an elk, biologists say the chances of a moose and elk breeding to create the hybrid are extremely low. Far more plausible explanations exists.

“Genetics, nutrition, injuries — things like that. There’s a lot a normal variability within antler growth,” Sidener said.

Williams is hoping to find the bull again, and with his professional camera at the ready this time.

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