Mother Moose is constantly teaching her babies during that first winter. If the calf does not learn enough, it will die in the first year of life.
Nature also has a hand in the life of a moose calf. Depending on the region and food available, calves may die in the first year for other reasons: accidents, disease, malnutrition, drowning and being attacked by predators.
A Confusing Spring
If the moose mother gets pregnant in the fall after his birth, the calf will face a staggering shock in early spring. After being constant companions for many months, the calf’s mother will suddenly chase him away!
The calf cannot understand the change. He may try to follow her for days … or even weeks. Those yearlings born with a sibling are the lucky ones; they have a traveling companion.
Singleton yearlings may try to join an adult bull. The adult may allow this for a while. However, at rutting time, he will not want the competition and will drive him away.
If a yearling tries to join a different mother moose and her calf, she will not tolerate it.
Occasionally, a mother moose does not become pregnant during the next rutting season. In this case, the yearling gets to stay with his mother for a while.
During the next mating season, either the mother or the bull will drive him away, fearing he is a sexual rival.
There are only 2 events of moose socialization: the close relationship between a cow and her calf and the short period of mating. The rest of the time, moose are solitary wanderers.
- Moose reach their prime between ages 5 and 10.
- Moose grow new antlers from scratch each year!
- Moose antlers in velvet are still sensitive; by the time the velvet falls off, the antlers are hard bone.
- Moose grow their antlers just for the rut!
* The original article in this Moose series is: ‘Moose: Giants of the North‘
Coming Soon: Moose Mating!
‘October Moose‘ used by permission of Vantage Point Graphics
This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com