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    1-877-888-3020 (Toll free) or

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    50 Monkstown Rd. St. John's, Nfld. Canada. A1C 3T3



    Bull Moose (Alces alces)c. W. Montevecchi

    This ungainly mammal is the world's largest living deer. It is found throughout most of the northern forests of Canada. It was not native to Newfoundland but was introduced here on two different occasions. In 1878 a bull and a cow were brought from Nova Scotia and
    released at Gander Bay. In 1904 two bulls and two cows from New Brunswick were released near Howley. The story of how the New Brunswick moose were captured is told by   John Nowlan of Chatham, New Brunswick . By 1920 moose were being recorded in good numbers over fifty miles from Howley. By 1935 moose occupied much of the island. In 1941 moose were first reported from the Avalon Peninsula.

    That a healthy population of animals has arisen from such a small original population raises some interesting questions about the concept of genetic bottlenecking.

    While most active during the twilight and early dawn, moose may be observed abroad at any time of the day or night. They are solitary animals. However during the summer several moose may occupy the same pond or marsh to feed on aquatic vegetation. They feed independently afterwards returning to their solitary existence. Moose are good waders and swimmers. In addition to aquatic vegetation, the summer diet also includes broad leaved trees, shrubs and grasses. In winter balsam fir is a diet staple but bark peeled from a number of other tree species as well. In areas of deep snow, favourable feeding
    areas may attract a number of moose together in a "yard". 

    The rut or breeding season begins about the middle of September and may continue until late October. During the rut the bulls seek out the cows. At this time the bulls are very aggressive and curious, investigating every sound in the woods. After a gestation period of about 245 days a calf (rarely more than one) weighing approximately 30 pounds is born in
    late May or early June. The young moose remains with its mother throughout the winter but is driven away just before the mother calves again in the spring. At this time the yearling may weigh 400-500 pounds. The majority of moose breed for the first time in the fall following their second birthday. Two year old bulls compete for the cows but the older
    bulls usually drive their younger competitors away. Not all the cows bear young every year. 

    Antlers are shed during the winter, older animals losing their larger sets first. Early spring sees the new antlers beginning to grow, reaching full size in August. This large animal has a relatively small home range - the entire summer may be spent in a hundred acre area. During the rut the males range over a much larger area. In spring young moose occasionally wander into St. John's and have to be tranquillized and returned to the woods. A collision with a moose is a very real possibility for every driver on the roads of Newfoundland, especially at night. 

    References: Northcott, Tom H., The Land Mammals of Insular Newfoundland. Wildlife Division, Dept of Tourism. Government of Newfoundland. 1974. 
    Canadian Wildlife Service, Hinterland Who's Who Series. 1968. 
    Bergerud, A.T. and F. Manuel. 1968. Moose damage to balsam fir - white birch forests in central Newfoundland. Journal of Wildlife Management 42(4): 729-746.