I see where a guy was selling moose sheds that he found this past Thanksgiving Day.
Isn't this early for a moose to shed horns? I thought they were like deer and didn't do it till the end of December thru March.
Makwa, I kinda think you have it bass ackwards. Prime bulls lose theirs first because they are the ones who most likely have bred a cow or two. Older bulls, past their prime are most often larger but they'll carry their racks to Feb/ March because they haven't bred. Should you see a rack on a smaller animal in Feb/Mar its because they didn't breed, likely because a prime bull put the boots to him.
Well thanks for that info but it is totally not what I have observed with moose but thanks for the info.
On the flights when we were doing game counts in March we had to have the chopper drop down low so we could see if there was a vulva patch to tell if it was a cow and not a bull as all the big bulls had dropped.
Young bulls with forks or small paddles often still had their antlers, but not all.
I gather you believe that the actual act of mating has an affect on the moose in some way and causes them to drop their antlers earlier than bulls that didn't breed? It has nothing to do with the daylight hours, hormone reduction and the weight, or lack there of, of the antlers.
Perhaps you could guide me to the documented biological information on this. I would enjoy reading it, as I must have missed it along the way. One can never stop learning.
I think its generally believed that daylight hours only set the time when the first rut starts and its hormones, or lack thereof that have a great influence when antlers are dropped. Successfull breeding bulls and older bulls lose antlers first as they have depleted hormones. Younger bulls that don't breed( those are the one you are seeing with racks in March) have retained higher levels of hormones and thats the reason you see some carrying into the later season.
We did everything we could to finish our plots before March because sexing become an issue. Lots of snow, lots of tracks, few fresh snowfalls all made for tough counting and sexing. More often than a vulva patch, we'd simply use cow/calf groups or the brown nose bridge to determine cows from bulls.
As for reference materials, I've pretty much lost or given away most of my stuff to others interested in the outdoorsy stuff. Unless you'd like to read my 'Report of the Royal Commission on Forestry, 1947' or my 'Woody Plant Seed Manual 1948' (I didn't think so!)
That is interesting, but basically is what I said in the first place, the big bulls (in other words the mature ones doing the breeding) are the ones that drop first and the little guys keep them till quite late. No news here.
I did not know that breeding depleted the hormones......that is a new one to me. I will have to ask a friend of mine about that, he is a moose biologist here in Canada, and see what he has to ad to that.
I will get back after talking to him, as that does not make sense to me. As a livestock producer (cattle and horses) I know that I can bring stallions and mares into season early by putting them under the lights and faking them out as to the time of year. We can get them to shed their winter coat early the same way. My understanding was the daylight change influences the organs responsible to either decrease or increase the hormones needed. We can bring a mare into season in January or February, as opposed to their 'natural' breeding time in late May, June, July.......... and get the stud ready in the same way.......and keep him breeding right through till August if we wanted to. The only slow down would occur if we bred to many mares per day and just simply wore him out physically. The hormones will keep being produced until the length of day changes enough and tells their system it is time to slow down and eventually stop or they play out due to lack of energy from just getting too damn worn out during the breeding season.
I must admit that I have missed a big game animal with a rifle. And not only was it a bull elk, it was the largest bull that I have had in my sights with a tag in my hand. But, as with most "missed shot" stories, I have an excuse. Moisture doesn't really ever bode well for hunting equipment. When moisture (either rain or snow) gets into a firearms barrel, nothing good takes place. A couple rain drops down there can change the point of impact drastically and a barrel jammed with snow after a...