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Updated: Feb 17, 2020

Bull Moose - Grand Teton National Park 2019


Moose make for a very desirable subject as a nature photographer. Especially Bull Moose.

Bull Moose drop their antlers in December/January with the larger antlers dropping first. They do not necessarily drop both sides at the same time. The antlers begin growing back in late March/early April. It is fairly easy to tell the age of a younger moose up to six years because of the size of the antler when it is fully grown in August. The younger the bull, the smaller the paddle or antler.

As the antler begins to grow it is encapsulated by velvet, a skin membrane which houses the soft tissue and a vascular system of blood vessels feeding the antler protein and nutrients. Come August, the antler calcifies and becomes dead bone. The velvet, given its name due to the thousands of small hairs protruding from this membrane, becomes very itchy and the bulls will scrape their antlers against almost anything to remove the velvet.

Bull Moose crossing the Gros Ventre River - Grand Teton National Park 2019


The velvet hangs from the antler all bloody and sometimes the moose will devour it. Are moose carnivores as well ? What gives an antler its color is what the rub the antler up against. A pine tree full of sap would give the antler a darker color whereas an aspen tree would give it a lighter color. The outside of the antler is darker than the inside for obvious reasons, they more than not scrape the outside more than the inside.

If yo find a moose antler in the forest, you are able to visualize where the blood vessels left depression channels into the soft tissue of the antler as it was developing.

There are many more interesting facts about moose and all the other wildlife in which this blog will discuss in future posts. This is why I love nature. It is a series of events over time that manufactured the optimal being based on ever changing environmental conditions and self-preservation.

Observing their characteristics and their behavior makes it all worth while.

Bull Moose - Grand Teton National Park 2019


Bull Moose - Grand Teton National Park 2019

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