With the Right Hunting Gear and Know-How, You Can Identify the Sex and Age of Moose with Ease
Moose season is almost upon us, and your local Ottawa hunting store wants to make sure you’re ready to have a successful hunt! This time, we’re going to go over how to identify the age and sex of a moose—which is an absolutely essential skill when on the hunt. First things first, it’s vital that you make sure you have binoculars among the rest of your hunting gear. Regardless of how good you think your vision is, it pays to be certain, and using a rifle scope when you’re unsure of what you’re looking at is an unsafe practice at best.
The easiest way to tell a bull moose from a cow, a yearling or a calf, is by the antlers. A bull will have distinctively large, horizontal antlers, with a wide, flat palm-like portion with sharp tines spreading out from the edges. A male yearling may have short, non-palmated antlers, which may hide behind their ears. Female moose of any age do not grow antlers.
A moose’s bell is the peculiar flap of skin and hair under its chin. According to Ottawa hunting stores, this can be used to help narrow down the age and sex of a moose. Calves have small, hard-to-notice bells, while a male yearling may have a longer, narrower bell—similar to that of a cow, so look for the bell is well as the beginnings of antlers. Bulls have the most prominent bells, which are wide and round, sometimes with a long, narrow section beneath.
While not a reliable method on its own, if you’re looking to confirm your guess of the age and sex of a moose, then the colour of its fur can help. A fully mature bull tends to have fur so dark that it appears black. Cows and young bulls are also dark, but will tend to be more greyish or brownish overall. Calves have distinctive reddish-grey fur on their back and hump.
There are other features that can help identify a moose, such as the nose (adult noses are more bulbous), the hump (sharper on calves), and track sizes. If you haven’t yet memorized each feature by the time you embark for your hunt, keep a handy guide among your hunting gear. This is especially important when you are hunting anything but a bull—being able to recognize all the things that set apart, for example, a cow from a yearling, could make all the difference in the success of your hunt.
To learn more about hunting moose, contact a trusted Ottawa hunting store before you hit the trail!