Thursday, January 10, 2013

Wildlife Quiz - Maine Moose

Maine’s Moose 

The eastern moose (Alces alces Americana) belongs to the deer family Cervidae. One of six subspecies, it exists in Europe as well as North America. In North America, moose have a massive range, including almost all of Canada, Alaska, sections of New England, and stretching into northern parts of New York, Minnesota, Michigan and the Rocky Mountains.

Weighing up to1500 pounds and measuring as high as 7 feet at the shoulders, moose rank as one of North America’s largest animals, second only to the American buffalo. Though a seemingly sedentary creature, moose can move incredibly fast, able to run almost 35 miles per hour and capable of swimming 6 miles per hour. An herbivore, moose eat only plants, consuming almost 70 pounds of food per day to maintain their colossal size. Time of year determines diet for these browsers. Moose strip bark off alder trunks and also eat lichen, balsam fir and white spruce to consume the calories necessary to make it through a harsh winter, in summer moose feed heavily on aquatic plants, a salt laden favorite. Unfortunately for motorists, salted highways also attract moose and the Maine Department of Transportation reports approximately 700 of these animals are hit every year, occasionally with fatal results for both moose and motorist.

Moose-mating season occurs in September-October with birthing occurring in May and June. For securing breeding rights with receptive females (cows), males (bulls) grow a new set of antlers each spring, that are put to good use in spectacular battles for dominance over other males. Antlers fall off shortly after the mating season and by December shed hunters are out attempting to find these discarded treasures. Moose have a great sense of hearing and smell but poor eyesight, therefore caution should always be used when hunting and photographing these majestic animals.

Q1 How much does a newborn moose weigh?
A1 A newborn moose weighs approximately 30 pounds.

Q2 How long does a moose live?
A2 Moose live between 15 to 20 years.

Q3 What is the average moose hunt success rate?
A3 The success rate on moose during the 2011 season was 71% in northern and 22% in southern districts. The overall success rate was 66%.

Q4 When do moose give birth?
A4 Moose give birth in May-June.

Q5 What is Maine’s estimated moose population?
A5 According to state wildlife biologists, Maine's moose population is estimated at 76,000.

Q6 What is an immature moose called?
A6 An immature moose is called a calf.

Q7 When is the Maine hunting season start and end?
A7 Moose hunting season is variable depending on the Wildlife Management Area. It starts roughly at the end of September and runs until the end of November. It is a lottery system.

Q8 Where is the 2013 annual moose lottery drawing to be held?
A8 The 2013 moose lottery drawing will be held in Greenville on June 14-16.

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