Moose (Alces alces)

Posted by Greg Traynor - January 30, 2012 - Wild Game of the Month - 1 Comment

Moose (Alces alces) referred to in North America, also known as Eurasian Elk in Europe are the largest species within the deer family. Currently there are six subspecies of moose. In North America; Eastern, Western, Alaska, and Shiras Moose. In Europe; Eurasian Elk and Siberian Moose.

Figure 1"Photo" A Moose in its natural environment.

Figure 1″Photo” A Moose in its natural environment. Moose are the largest animal in the deer family.

A male is referred to as a bull moose. The female referred to as a cow moose. Immature moose of either sex are referred to as a calf. Calves will be reddish brown fur in relation to brown fur as an adult. Calves will stay with their cow moose until just prior to a new calf is born.

Translation issue when you are hunting in Europe. The moose is known as an “Elk” in several European countries. So if you plan to come over and hunt the European moose, expect the mix up before you travel. There are no Elk, as we know them in North America, in Europe. The closest thing to it is a Red Deer (Rothirsch in German). So, when your guide says that you are going to hunt Elk, they mean Moose!

Adult body weight ranges from 850-1580 pounds on a bull moose. A cow moose 600-800 pounds. Typically an adult will stand 6-7 feet high. Antlers are typically between 3.5 and 5 feet wide. Antlers are grown again yearly by bull moose.

Moose do not form herds; they tend to be solitary animals. They are mostly diurnal (day time activity).
September and October tend to be the mating season of Moose. Bulls will fight others for the right to reproduce. Smaller bulls typically back down after seeing a larger moose. Typically if one does not back down an antler fight will determine the winner.

Nature Status: Moose are not endangered.

Natural Predators: Most common moose predators include: wolves, bear and cougar. The killer whale is the moose’s only marine predator during its swims between islands in the Northwest coast of North America.

Life Span: Average life span is between 15-25 years.

Habitat: Moose are herbivore, eating many types of plant or fruit. Aquatic plants are key to the moose and its sodium requirement and will eat approximately half of their diet from aquatic plants which can have up to 500 times more sodium then normal browse. Moose tend to prefer new growths from birch, aspen, maple and other trees. During summer month’s moose are attracted to marshes and river banks for vegetation and cooling.

Hunting: Look for an area that maintains young trees with marshes or swampy lakes. Areas that have had fire will produce young tree shoots that moose like.

Figure 2 "Photo" Pedro Ampuero, archery hunter from Spain.

Figure 2 “Photo” Pedro Ampuero, WILD Jaeger International Field Staff member representing Spain, with a bull moose that he harvested in Canada with modern archery equipment.

Action Card

Preferred Caliber:   30-06 Springfield, 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Winchester, .348 Winchester

 Rifles: Bolt action

Archery: Long, recurve and compound bows with a legal minimum of 50lb. draw weight. Brodhead
with a minimum 7/8 inch cutting diameter and must be fixed or replaceable blade.

Optics: High quality optics with a high magnification to allow for long range shots.  Spotting scope and a laser range finder are also recommended.

Notes:
A moose’s territory will be located around an area it finds enough nutrition.  Typically between 5 – 25 miles. Moose in northern climates, with less food, will have a larger territory up to or in excess of 150 miles.

Method:   Preferred method is spot and stalk since Moose are sedentary and slow moving.

*Disclaimer: Please contact the local game management office for exact details and regulations pertaining to the area you are hunting.

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