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Thread: Antler development.

  1. #1
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    Default Antler development.

    There are several biologist reports on antler development.

    Antler Development in Cervidae by Robert D. Brown.

    Alaska moose, antler spreads and Boone and Crockett scores by Bill Gasaway.

    In Hunting in Alaska by Christopher Batin there is information taken from Gasaway report. If you do not have “Hunting in Alaska”, you are missing out on a real good book.
    The one thing I like about Batin book is it is not full of fluff.

    The bottom line is Antler size depend on many factors: food, habitat, climate, weather, and of course heredity.

  2. #2
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default

    And age.

    Antlers are what the bio's call secondary sex characteristics. They are distinctly male(caribou duly noted) but are not reproductive.

    Nutrition consummed by the bull goes to body maintenance first and surplus goes into antler development. BTW antler is the fastest growing tissue in the animal kingdom. The theory is that bulls display their superior nutrition via their antlers. Their size represents to cows that said bull eats better than the competition so his offspring will know how as well.

    Bulls typically live to be 10 or 11 in the wild and hit their primes at 6 to 7 years of age. They have the greatest body size and mass of their lives and if it's a good forage year will maximize their genetic potential for antlers.

    I give all of Chris Batin's books a hearty second. I recommend the writings of Valerius Geist for those interested in the details of North American ungulates. His stuff can be on the dry side (he's a scientist after all) but very informative.

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    WOW, there’s a 2nd person in this world who likes to read about moose.

    You’re right Erik, I forgot about “AGE”.

    Have you read Ecology and Management of the North American Moose?
    The so called “Bible on Moose”

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    Default Bingo Rutting Moose

    That book is awesome.

    Every moose hunter needs to read it.

  5. #5

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    This is one reason I miss hunting back home in the mid-west.

    There, many hunters are aware of antler development, proper animal diet, and proper sex ratio. The majority of hunters I know/knew worked to improve conditions where-ever possible. Case in point; I used to plant food plots where ever and when ever I could afford to improving the condition of the animals and antler growth. Nearly everyone I know/knew with private land had/have minerals and crops specifically for animal improvement and invested a small fortune for improvements in hunting. Even the state took part in this. I saw the state plant food plots in right-a-ways (such as gas pipelines and power lines) and in clear cut areas.

    No matter where these improvements were located, the animals (all free roaming) enjoyed the benefit - as did the hunters and those who viewed the wildlife.

    Alaska is frustrating... so much wasted land, so many wasted opportunities.
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

  6. #6
    Member junkak's Avatar
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    Default

    Great time to see the bull at the Alaska Zoo.

    Velvet. Growth. Pics of past growth.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanOutdoorsman View Post
    This is one reason I miss hunting back home in the mid-west.

    There, many hunters are aware of antler development, proper animal diet, and proper sex ratio. The majority of hunters I know/knew worked to improve conditions where-ever possible. Case in point; I used to plant food plots where ever and when ever I could afford to improving the condition of the animals and antler growth. Nearly everyone I know/knew with private land had/have minerals and crops specifically for animal improvement and invested a small fortune for improvements in hunting. Even the state took part in this. I saw the state plant food plots in right-a-ways (such as gas pipelines and power lines) and in clear cut areas.

    No matter where these improvements were located, the animals (all free roaming) enjoyed the benefit - as did the hunters and those who viewed the wildlife.

    Alaska is frustrating... so much wasted land, so many wasted opportunities.
    I'm sorry but I have to disagree with this. I think that Alaska has it right by intentionally not feeding moose with food plots in order to produce bigger antlers. I see no real gain by helping moose grow larger antlers by using food plots and the like. I realize that if these food plots aren't already eaten up by October/November they could be handy for tired bulls coming out of the rut. I just don't feel that the moose need us to plant food plots in order for them to get their proper diets as you suggest. They have been figuring out to get by with the plants nature gave them for quite a while now. Many people get too caught up on antler growth.

    Plus down in the states its a lot easier to run a food plot where you deer hunt. Mainly cause these are on the road system or even in one's backyard. In Alaska many hunters hunt moose hundreds or miles away from home or often not even on the road system. Who is going to plan to run a food plot in these locations. Its not cost effective or productive. I would actually ticked to hear if our state was wasting resources (more than they already do ) to plant these food plots. The moose don't need our help to find forage. If you really want to help the moose population shoot some wolves and grizzlys. Its not that hunters up here aren't concerned about wildlife management, we just like to concern ourselves with management that makes sense, ok well most of the time. HAHA!! Maybe I'm way off base here I don't know, but I just don't see the advantage of getting moose used to food plots and eating less alders and willows other than for those that want to see bigger antlers on moose. Sorry for the rant.

  8. #8
    Member Bighorse's Avatar
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    Default Different food and climate too

    Add the different kinds of food a moose eats and climate and your looking at a challenging food plot to manage.

    Logging helps em a ton. So does keeping your back well landscaped.

    Kill wolves and grizzly.

  9. #9

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    In fact, I believe it would be illegal to run a food plot for moose in Alaska.

    In general, managing moose by predator control and hunting regulations is the only viable means of doing it.

    I would like to see what those mid-west managers would do with wolf packs and grizzlies in their food plots. Grizzlies would learn quickly that a food plot for deer is also one for themselves as well.
    Wasilla Real Estate News
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by martyv View Post
    In fact, I believe it would be illegal to run a food plot for moose in Alaska.
    You are correct.

    As with other hunters in our state, this fall I plan to take a brown bear and a few blacks to assist in predator control and game management. A wolf would be a great way to end the trip, but I've only seen one in the wild and couldn't get a shot I was comfortable with.

    I would agree there are a number of complications with what I outlined above, and yea, the road system is but one of the hurdles. Regardless, that shouldn't prevent us from looking at options and trying some different programs to improve our resources. From clear cutting to limiting cow hunts and transporting moose out of over populated regions... there is much more we can do.

    I pay a lot of good money to get out and hunt - every year. Deer, Moose, Caribou, Bear, etc. Our predator control program is an improvement, but it doesn't go far enough and if its the only tool in our tool-box, well, we can't claim to be a serious mechanic.

    Bottom line, we need more than a predator control program if we are seriously going to improve on our game population around the state.
    "He should have been packing a more powerful gun...you have to be a very good shot or very lucky to stop a brown bear with a .357 Magnum." - Rick Sinnott, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist after a double attack by a grizzly.

  11. #11
    Member BIGAKSTUFF's Avatar
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    Default In regards to food plots

    Planting food plots so that someone can shoot a moose with an amazing rack that takes the top spot in Boone and Crockett would taint the records for moose at a level on par with the steroid era we now face in baseball. Keep em' growing on good ol' fashion natural foods and let someone be proud of a record smashing moose, without people questioning which food plot he set his stand up next too. Also, moving the requirment up from three brow tines on one side to four will produce some fine specimens i suspect.

    I could care less about rack size myself, give me a spike-fork any day of the week, good eatin'.

    I agree with everyone on the preditor control, kill the calf killers when ever possible.

  12. #12
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Would moose even utilize a food plot?

    Other than the short window when pond weeds are emerging all I've ever seen them eat during antler season is willow.

    Also, I wholeheartedly disagree with the "wasted land" comment. Each biome, each niche, serves a purpose.

  13. #13
    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rutting Moose View Post
    WOW, there’s a 2nd person in this world who likes to read about moose.

    You’re right Erik, I forgot about “AGE”.

    Have you read Ecology and Management of the North American Moose?
    The so called “Bible on Moose”
    Just bought one for $34
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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