Moose Radio-Telemetry Progress Report - Feb 2009 Click Here

Moose Exclosure Report Winter 2009 Click Here

Moose Exclosure Protocol Proposal Click Here

Please check back for additional reports and updates.



Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


How old do moose get to be?

In populations that are heavily hunted, the average life span of moose is between 4 and 5 years of age.  In an un-hunted population such as the Massachusetts moose population the average life span is slightly higher, between 10 and 13 years of age.

How big are moose?

Moose are the largest members of the deer family and one of the largest land mammals in North America. Adults may stand as tall as 2.3 m high. Males are larger than females and possess elaborate, widened antlers that can measure up to 2 meters in total width, from tip to tip. These are the largest antlers carried by any mammal, worldwide. They are shed and re-grown annually. Males range from 2.5 to 3.2 meters in total length, females from 2.4 to 3.1 meters. Males weigh from 360 to 600 kg and females from 270 to 400 kg. Moose have thick, brown fur that ranges from light to almost black in color. Individual hairs are 15 to 25 cm long and hollow, resulting in excellent insulation. Moose are also distinguished by their long head with a long, flexible nose and upper lip. Moose have very long legs and a dewlap of skin on the throat.

How many moose are there in Massachusetts?

Considered a cold-climate species, moose once ranged as far south as Pennsylvania in the Northeastern United States. But with New England's transformation from a forested to agrarian landscape in Colonial times, they largely disappeared from the area. Beginning in the 1980s, however, a breeding population began to reestablish itself. Now Massachusetts boasts some 1,000 -1,500 moose.

Where are there moose in Massachusetts?

Moose are located in central and western Massachusetts.

What should I do if I see a moose?

Wildlife viewers, hunters and other outdoors people may encounter a moose in their travels through Massachusetts forests. Stay a respectful distance away and enjoy this magnificent animal. In most cases, the moose will move off. During the breeding season in fall, or the calving season in spring, be especially cautious because bulls can be unpredictable and cows can be very protective of their calves. Keep dogs under control.

Can moose be hunted in Massachusetts?

Moose hunting in Massachusetts is prohibited by law (Chapter 131: Section 73).

What do moose eat?

Moose are herbivores. They consume buds, twigs, leaves, pondweed etc.  Moose are selective about the parts of the plants that they consume especially when forage quality and quantity are high. Selection varies depending on location and type of forage available. When food supply is low, usually in late winter, moose will strip and eat the bark of some trees. In the summer moose also eat aquatic vegetation such as pond weed and water lily. Aquatic vegetation is of high value to moose in replenishing nutrients lost during winter and required for antler growth (bulls) and for producing milk (cows).

When do moose breed?

Moose breed in September/October, this period is commonly referred to as “the rut”. Calves are born approximately 8 months later, in late May/Early June.

When are calves born, and how many calves does a cow have?

Moose produce either a single or twin calf each year.  Triplets have been recorded but incidents are rare. In good habitat, cow moose can give birth when they are 2 years old. Nearly all 3 year old cows produce calves and they will every year for the remainder of their life (approximately 10-12 years). Calves are usually born around the first of June when the weather is warm and there is plenty of new green vegetation to meet their mother’s nutritional needs while producing milk for their young.

Do all moose have horns?

Moose do not have horns, they have antlers and only bull(male) moose have antlers. Bovines grow horns, these are permanent, unbranched structures that grow from the base. Antlers grow from the tip and are shed in January/February each year. In a bull’s prime (usually between the ages of 5 and 12) new, often larger antlers grow back in late spring/early summer. They grow under velvet until September when the velvet is rubbed off on branches and the new antlers are revealed. Antler growth is dependant on the health and nutrition of the animal. If antlers are damaged during their growing period, they can become malformed.

Why are radio-collars used in studies?

Radio collars are used to study many different species. Collars are an important research tool because they allow a researcher to find and study a particular animal, repeatedly and at any given time. The locations obtained by tracking animals with GPS (Global Positioning System) collars can be used to determine the home range size (i.e. the area each animal travels, lives and eats in), determine what type of habitat is being utilized, and locate seasonal feeding habitats.  Radio-collars also allow us to get a general idea of the health and condition of the collared moose.  Most collars are equipped with a mortality sensor so that if the animal (i.e. collar) does not move for a period of time (can be set for different periods) then the collar transmits a different signal. This allows the researcher to locate the carcass more quickly which may help to determine the cause of death.