Results 1 to 18 of 18

Thread: Late Spring and Antler growth

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Vashon, Washington
    Posts
    59

    Default Late Spring and Antler growth

    It's great to see that people are seeing babies on hill sides and around the state but it got me wondering. . . . what will the late spring mean for moose antler growth? Will a bull that would be in the 55+ range only be in the 48+ range this year? Should prove interesting. I can't remember a year this late so don't have anything to compare it to. Just got me thinking. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    11,415

    Default

    I saw a bull last week with paddles already.

  3. #3
    Member Roger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sunshine Alaska
    Posts
    2,049

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    I saw a bull last week with paddles already.
    Yep same here small but paddles ! Seeing lots of bulls this year
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Big Lake
    Posts
    1,592

    Default

    Late spring shouldn't have anything to do with growth (as long as bulls find enough to eat). Growth is started by the increase in hours of daylight, just as the rut is triggered by shortening daylight.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Vashon, Washington
    Posts
    59

    Default

    I figured that quality food might be a bit more difficult which will effect growth some. Hope they find plenty!!

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    607

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    Late spring shouldn't have anything to do with growth (as long as bulls find enough to eat). Growth is started by the increase in hours of daylight, just as the rut is triggered by shortening daylight.

    The rut is triggered more by cold temps than daylight.

  7. #7
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default

    Antler growth is primarily a function of nutrition (hence the "antler-max" type supplements fed to game ranch deer along with food plots), and secondarily of age. Now what the impacts this late spring will have on a moose's nutrition, not sure. Likely though it hasn't been a positive.

  8. #8
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,008

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TS View Post
    The rut is triggered more by cold temps than daylight.
    Not correct. Photoperiod is the ultimate driver of all things related to North American ungulates. The decrease in daylight striking the retina triggers the pituitary gland to activate estrogen production, which in turn causes the cows to produce pre-ovulatory pheremones. It is these pheremones wafting in the air that tell the bulls the cows are coming into season.

    Now, I fully accept that experienced bulls have memory enough to correlate the changes of fall with the rut and certainly hot weather suppresses pre-rut behavior. Moose don't sweat and in September bulls are at their largest and fattest, therefore their warmest. Locating cows and sparring with other bulls could prove fatal if temps stay high, but a cold snap only APPEARS to trigger the rut because it makes pre-rut exertions much more comfortable.

    If, at the end of the first week in October, things are dangerously warm, the rut will proceed. Some bulls might die of heat stroke but the cows will be bred.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  9. #9
    Member Antleridge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Southeast Alaska
    Posts
    395

    Default

    Erik, thanks for the concise, comprehensive, and accurate explanation.

  10. #10
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Vashon, Washington
    Posts
    59

    Default

    As I am down in Washington, does there seem to be some better browse starting to bud out for our 4 legged friends?

  11. #11
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    2,008

    Default

    To piggyback on Bushrat's comment: He's dead-on about nutrition. Antlers, biologically, are a secondary, male sex characteristic in most deer species (which includes moose). Food intake feeds the tissues first and excess nutrition goes into antlers. Age, Genetics & Nutrition are what decide how large a particular individual moose's antlers will be.

    Some bio's theorize that cows gravitate towards bulls with larger antlers because they're an indicator of superior feeding habits. Others assert large antlers are merely a by-product of the larger body mass that typifies dominant bulls.

    For those who don't know, antlers start as a sort of tight, honey-combed protein matrix that get mineralized. 90% of the total antler volume is determined by early July for most deer and elk but I'm unsure about moose. From casual observation I would say about the end of July here in Alaska. I've already seen bulls down on the Anchorage Coastal Refuge with new growth and while the snow is gone browse is still pretty thin. This leads me to believe that some of that winter reserve goes into early antler growth.

    Anyway, early season browse conditions play a major role in antler development in drier climes. I have read reports about how the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona (known for 400 class bull elk) charges a premium during years with wet springs, as that equals more forage when antlers are growing. I assume the same thing applies here with moose.

    It's a good question for the bios and possibly a worthy topic for some graduate study work.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  12. #12
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    607

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik in AK View Post
    Not correct. Photoperiod is the ultimate driver of all things related to North American ungulates. The decrease in daylight striking the retina triggers the pituitary gland to activate estrogen production, which in turn causes the cows to produce pre-ovulatory pheremones. It is these pheremones wafting in the air that tell the bulls the cows are coming into season.

    Now, I fully accept that experienced bulls have memory enough to correlate the changes of fall with the rut and certainly hot weather suppresses pre-rut behavior. Moose don't sweat and in September bulls are at their largest and fattest, therefore their warmest. Locating cows and sparring with other bulls could prove fatal if temps stay high, but a cold snap only APPEARS to trigger the rut because it makes pre-rut exertions much more comfortable.

    If, at the end of the first week in October, things are dangerously warm, the rut will proceed. Some bulls might die of heat stroke but the cows will be bred.

    Two things wrong with your book smarts, bulls quit eating pre rut and have very little fat. A rutting bull will just have water in it's stomach,and the liver will be shot.
    In 45 years of hunting moose and observing their behavior,the cold temps early bring on the rut early and when it's warm well into september the rut is delayed. I've shot stinky rutted up bulls with bad livers on sept. 15th, and on a warm year have shot many mature bulls in late september that haven't even started the rut and have full stomachs.

    On a cold fall the moose are mounting up in mid september I've seen it. and on a warm fall they aren't, same daylight each year.

    As a matter of fact I have advocated moving the start of moose season a week later due to the warmer falls we have now verses 30 years ago.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,246

    Default

    I think what happens to moose has to do with genetics. It's the only thing that can explain everything that happens leading up to the rut and the timing of when a calf drops.

    Lets look at a bull moose in the early spring the bulls start to grow antlers. They continue to grow until around the last week in August when the blood supply to the velvet and antlers stop flowing. The velvet must itch because bulls will rub it off on brush and they become hard in preparation for the fighting that will start in another two or three week to determine who will service the cows.

    When a cow go into estrus has to do with giving the calf the best chance to survive. That is in early spring giving it time to grow big enough to survive the winter, and all the calves must drop at or near the same time because of predictors. With a gestation of 216-240 for most cows and the calf 's drop in late May means cow need to go into estrus between September 25 to October 10. If a cow is not serviced it will go into estrus again in 24 to 25 days.

    The numbers observed in the documentation were very small this could help to explain variation seen in the field by hunters and first year cows have a shorter estrus than older cows. Which could explain why I've seen a cow following a bull early in September making me think the rut would be early that year and it never is for most moose.

    For the above reasons I do not see how weather would effect the time a cow would go into estrus.
    What I have seen is bulls get very active in cold weather. The time a cow is in estrus or heat is between 15 to 26 hours for most cows that does not give a bull very much time. I would think the bulls thinks they must be late for a very important date. This could also lead hunters too think cold weather triggers the rut.

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Big Lake
    Posts
    1,592

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    I think what happens to moose has to do with genetics. It's the only thing that can explain everything that happens leading up to the rut and the timing of when a calf drops.

    Lets look at a bull moose in the early spring the bulls start to grow antlers. They continue to grow until around the last week in August when the blood supply to the velvet and antlers stop flowing. The velvet must itch because bulls will rub it off on brush and they become hard in preparation for the fighting that will start in another two or three week to determine who will service the cows.

    When a cow go into estrus has to do with giving the calf the best chance to survive. That is in early spring giving it time to grow big enough to survive the winter, and all the calves must drop at or near the same time because of predictors. With a gestation of 216-240 for most cows and the calf 's drop in late May means cow need to go into estrus between September 25 to October 10. If a cow is not serviced it will go into estrus again in 24 to 25 days.

    The numbers observed in the documentation were very small this could help to explain variation seen in the field by hunters and first year cows have a shorter estrus than older cows. Which could explain why I've seen a cow following a bull early in September making me think the rut would be early that year and it never is for most moose.

    For the above reasons I do not see how weather would effect the time a cow would go into estrus.
    What I have seen is bulls get very active in cold weather. The time a cow is in estrus or heat is between 15 to 26 hours for most cows that does not give a bull very much time. I would think the bulls thinks they must be late for a very important date. This could also lead hunters too think cold weather triggers the rut.
    Well.... maybe.
    When the blood stops flowing to the velvet, the antlers are mostly hard already. What's to "itch"? No nerve ends in the bone (antlers) or the dead velvet. As the velvet dies it starts to fall off the antlers. The shortening days trigger the rutting response in the bulls, causing them to want to fight. Fighting with an alder or other tree knocks off the rest of the dead velvet. I really don't think there is anything to itch. That's my story.

  15. #15
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,246

    Default

    You do make a good point “what is there to itch”. I could not come up with a better way to explain why a bull would be rubbing the antlers after the blood stopped flowing.

    Could a bull moose go into Puberty every year??????? LOL

    More on this later.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,246

    Default

    Gary, I found information that support your position on, shortening days trigger the rutting response in bulls on velvet dying, but not on when it start to grow. I decided it's best to copy the information so there would not be any more miss information. Not that I would have ever done that. LOL

    “The length of velvet period in species is age dependent and may last from 60 to160 days. In prime moose, it last about 140 days. It is believed that (1) the direct cause of velvet death is impairment of blood flow to the cortex due to narrowing of sinuses by deep mineralization (Wislocki and Waldo 1954, Bubenik 1966a,) or (2) high testosterone levels are impetus for shedding (Waldo and Wislocki 1951, Wislocki and Waldo 1953, Bubenik 1966a, Goss 1983).”

    So there the answer bull moose go into Puberty every year, that would also help to explain the male attitude. LOL

    “Event such as spontaneous peeling of velvet, velvet shedding before complete ossification, velvet regeneration under dying velvet, and casting of antlers with adherent and mummified velvet (Bubenik 1978, A.B. Bubenik 1990) speak instead for photoperiodically controlled velevt-vessels anoxia or infarction (Bubenik 1986). A predisposition for this may be the high sensitivity of velvet arteries to vasomotor constriction (Jaczewski et al 1965, Wika and Edvinsson 1978).”

    “The hyopthesis of photoperiodically induced anoxia is explained by velvet shedding independent to the progress of antler ossification and the relatively narrow range of shedding dates in contrast to casting dates (Goss 1983). The loss of velvet is the reason why Wika and Krog ( 1980: 422) call it “a disposable vascular bed”.”

    It appears the experts also have a problem determining a single answer. I do like my Puberty scenario. LOL

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Big Lake
    Posts
    1,592

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    Gary, I found information that support your position on, shortening days trigger the rutting response in bulls on velvet dying, but not on when it start to grow. I decided it's best to copy the information so there would not be any more miss information. Not that I would have ever done that. LOL

    “The length of velvet period in species is age dependent and may last from 60 to160 days. In prime moose, it last about 140 days. It is believed that (1) the direct cause of velvet death is impairment of blood flow to the cortex due to narrowing of sinuses by deep mineralization (Wislocki and Waldo 1954, Bubenik 1966a,) or (2) high testosterone levels are impetus for shedding (Waldo and Wislocki 1951, Wislocki and Waldo 1953, Bubenik 1966a, Goss 1983).”

    So there the answer bull moose go into Puberty every year, that would also help to explain the male attitude. LOL

    “Event such as spontaneous peeling of velvet, velvet shedding before complete ossification, velvet regeneration under dying velvet, and casting of antlers with adherent and mummified velvet (Bubenik 1978, A.B. Bubenik 1990) speak instead for photoperiodically controlled velevt-vessels anoxia or infarction (Bubenik 1986). A predisposition for this may be the high sensitivity of velvet arteries to vasomotor constriction (Jaczewski et al 1965, Wika and Edvinsson 1978).”

    “The hyopthesis of photoperiodically induced anoxia is explained by velvet shedding independent to the progress of antler ossification and the relatively narrow range of shedding dates in contrast to casting dates (Goss 1983). The loss of velvet is the reason why Wika and Krog ( 1980: 422) call it “a disposable vascular bed”.”

    It appears the experts also have a problem determining a single answer. I do like my Puberty scenario. LOL
    Interesting. The recycling of puberty covers it pretty good.

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TS View Post
    Two things wrong with your book smarts, bulls quit eating pre rut and have very little fat. A rutting bull will just have water in it's stomach,and the liver will be shot.
    In 45 years of hunting moose and observing their behavior,the cold temps early bring on the rut early and when it's warm well into september the rut is delayed. I've shot stinky rutted up bulls with bad livers on sept. 15th, and on a warm year have shot many mature bulls in late september that haven't even started the rut and have full stomachs.

    On a cold fall the moose are mounting up in mid september I've seen it. and on a warm fall they aren't, same daylight each year.

    As a matter of fact I have advocated moving the start of moose season a week later due to the warmer falls we have now verses 30 years ago.

    Are you observing a correlating variance of birthing dates along with the different timing os rut?
    Or, are the calves being born at the same time each spring regardless of the timing of the rut?

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •