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Thread: Guesstimating Moose Age

  1. #1
    Member Crab_n_fish's Avatar
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    Default Guesstimating Moose Age

    I understand there are variables in guesstimating any given moose's age. Somewhere, someone, somehow has a formula @ arriving to a conclusion.
    Visually, a moose under ideal environomental conditions will be such-and-such weight/height at birth, at six weeks, and so on. I am wanting to know what your opinion is on the subject.

    One reason that I ask is because I am not sure how to guesstimate the age when snapping photos of moose that come through our property here. For example, what age is this one?:

    http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/7355/010tz.jpg

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

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    Default "guess"timate

    as you said - its a guesstimate - with nothing to compare it to, it looks to be between "almost" 1 year old and 2 years old. my guess is purely based on the preceived bulk of the animal - it just doesn't have enough to be older than that. if I had to guess again, I would say its last year's calf. the more you see, the better you'll be able to guess. Watch them in late summer, early fall when they're more apt to be with/near other moose to get a feel for what a calf or yearling looks like. They don't put on much weight during the winter.
    unrelated, but I've seen some REALLY small calves lately (last year's, of course) - look like thay couldn't weigh much more than 200-250 lbs. must have been a late hatch(?).
    Gary

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    Member Crab_n_fish's Avatar
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    Thank you for the reply, Gary.

    I have lived in Alaska for a bit over a year now. Last year I worked so much that I rarely saw moose smack-dab in the middle of Wasilla. The very first moose I saw was off of Nelson street. It was absolutely huge and I compared it to a Clydesdale on steroids! Now that I live on the outskirts of Houston, I spend more time outdoors and see more and more of these wonderful creatures.

    I do understand there is a difference between a bull carrying a rack at 32" versus one much more massive. However, recalling that "Clydesdale Moose," I'm often reminded of horses (yearlings, colts, fillys, stallions, mares, etc.) We may measure their age by such terms, but we also measure by hands. So having made that statement, I am interested in learning more about these moose, to learn of similar or even different formulas (if that is possible...and hence why I used the term "guesstimate"...)

    Whatever formula I may arrive at when it comes to age, I can say one thing: It will definitely be a fun learning experience!

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    Member Hunt&FishAK's Avatar
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    Default

    id say 2-3 years....sub-adult? now in person i can usually judge the age of a moose pretty accurately....but on a photo its tough. definately a guesstimate



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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    Moose size and antler configuration varies greatly from animal to animal and year to year. There are many things that can effect it from genetics to the quality of available browse. There are records of moose of the same age held on the exact same diet where one grew a 35" rack in its first year of "adulthood" and the other grew only a spike/fork configuration. The only reliable method to judge moose age is by inspecting the teeth and comparing them to those of moose of known ages. This method can be over 90% accurate in the hands of a well trained bio and 98% accurate to within +/- 1 yr.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/856p43550483np05/

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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    Moose size and antler configuration varies greatly from animal to animal and year to year. There are many things that can effect it from genetics to the quality of available browse. There are records of moose of the same age held on the exact same diet where one grew a 35" rack in its first year of "adulthood" and the other grew only a spike/fork configuration. The only reliable method to judge moose age is by inspecting the teeth and comparing them to those of moose of known ages. This method can be over 90% accurate in the hands of a well trained bio and 98% accurate to within +/- 1 yr.

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/856p43550483np05/

    Bingo LuJon!! There could be 2 6yrs old bulls standing out there side by side (for example) that are huge and comparable in body size, yet one will sport 57" bones while the other is a 34" dink. A 2 year old could also have 32" antlers while it's own sibling next to it has a fork. Go figure...

    I just use the 3 brow tine, spike/fork, 50", any bull = method and not worry about their age..

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    Member sbiinc's Avatar
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    Default age determination

    don't think it will help most of us out but age determination is just like horses.... gotta look at their teeth....

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    F&G has a publication that relates antler size to age. It has drawings of different antler sizes and configurations and the associated age.

    I think it's by Don Young (NOT our congressman) in the Fbks office.

    I tried to find the publication on F&G's publication web page, but no joy.

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    Member aksheephuntress's Avatar
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    ....yet, really old bulls can actually have "shrinking antlers" ...a decrease in antler size, each year...
    -I guess, having to do with their ability to browse, or digest their browse, as they age?
    ....a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed....

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    That's right. They hit their individual maximum size around 7 - 8 years, IIRC.

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    Member Crab_n_fish's Avatar
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    A lot was running through my mind when I initially inquired about this topic. Looking back on it I had also been calculating the number of moose in 14 A and dividing it by the square mile, to get an idea of moose density. Along with those figures I was curious how many moose were legal to take once hunting season comes around this fall, versus the numbers taken in years past.

    Yes, I was aware of spike/forks, the 50" rule, but the more I researched the topic, the more I wanted proximate but essentially unknowable numbers. I knew it was a shot-in-the-dark topic, figuratively speaking.

    Now that I have my own "pet moose" nicknamed Lucy who visits on occasion, I understand there is a certain probability she will end up on someone's dinner table via a draw permit and well-placed shot. It would be nice to see her calve as well before that happens.

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