Saturday, June 22, 2013


Moose - Alces americanus

This year marks the seventh summer that I have regularly hiked the area along the Elbow River behind my home. A few winters ago I started to notice Moose prints in fresh snow and occasional Moose poop. Last year I saw lots of prints and poop and I wondered if a Moose was resident in the area. This year I saw so many tracks I knew there was a resident Moose, and today, finally, I saw the male Moose from about 200 meters.
This spring I saw new tracks every week. The regular rain created fresh mud that is as good as fresh snow for tracking. The dewclaw marks were often present. His tracks extended over the entire range of my usual hike. A Moose home range can vary from 2.2 to 17 square kilometers. 

A month ago I happened upon a glade in the center of a thick forested area that was filled with Moose poop. I presume this is home base for the Moose. I heard a snort from this area during one hike but a close criss-cross search did not reveal the animal. Yesterday I came across some "steaming fresh" poop.  I knew spotting the Moose was only a matter of time. 

Today, from Creek Watch, I decided to scan the far bank, which courtesy of the flood is now about two football fields away, and the Moose was browsing along the flooded shoreline.  

Moose are the largest deer in the world. An adult male can weigh up to 770 kg and the rack alone can weigh up to 35 kg!

The antlers on this Moose confirm his gender. Antler growth begins in April and the horns remain in velvet until August or September. Most males cast their antlers in December or early January, but sub adult males might carry the antlers until February or even March. 

Moose in Western Canada favor Dogwood and Willow, which are very common in this area. His home base is surrounded by Willow.


Gadd, Ben. Handbook of the Canadian Rockies. Corax Press. Jasper, Alberta. 1986. 

Naughton, Donna. The Natural History of Canadian Mammals. UofT Press. Toronto, Ontario. 2012. 

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