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|Moose Classification|| ||(Which means)|
|Phylum: CHORDATA|| ||-Has a backbone)|
|Class: MAMMALIA|| ||-Is a Mammal|
|Order: ARTIODACTYLA|| ||-Ungulate w/ even # of toes|
|Family: CERVIDAE|| ||-new antlers each year|
|Subfamily: ODOCOILEINAE|| ||-Genus of American Deer|
|Species: ALCES ALCES|| ||-IS A MOOSE |
This horse-sized animal is the largest member of the deer family with long, dark brown hair, high humped shoulders and long legs. A pendant of hair-covered skin sometimes reaching 2 feet hangs under the throat. Each April the male moose or bull grows a set of antlers reaching 47" to 59" (120-150 cm) which he loses in the winter after rutting season. The maximum antler record was over 80 inches (2 meters) in width.
Their range essentially coincides with that of the coniferous forests of northern Asia, Europe, and North America. In North America, that includes almost all of Canada, Alaska, much of New England, and the upper Rockies. In Europe, most of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia have widespread moose populations. In Asia, moose are confined mainly to Russia. Moose were generally more broadly distributed in the past.
Moose may grow to be 7 feet tall (213 cm) and 1500 pounds (680 Kg)! They like to eat trees and shrubs, usually maple and aspen and are considered herbivores Moose loose their antlers in the Spring, and breed in the Fall. The word "moose" itself is derived from the Natik word "moos." Supposedly derived from the Proto-Algonquian mooswa, meaning "the animal that strips bark off trees." Moose have a life expectancy of 8-25 years.
The moose track is slightly larger and more pointed than that of the European elk and similar in shape to a deer but twice as large.
A typical print is of two pointed pear shapes with the tips closer than the wider bottom.
Straddle: 23 - 26 cm (9.2 - 10.4 in)
Stride: 60 - 85 cm (24 - 34 in)
Track: 16 cm (6.4 in) / 14 cm (5.6 in)
Alces alces, is called the moose in North America and the elk in Europe. This is confusing because there is another animal in the USA, WAPITI, (Cervus elaphus) or North American Elk, which is the second largest Cervadie in the country...Moose is first.
If you shoot or injure a young moose with the mother moose in the area, be prepared to kill Mama too. She will fiercely defend her youngster at the cost of her own life, and will try to do grievous injury to you and anyone with you. You will be outweighed by at least 500 pounds or more.
Behavior and breeding
Although moose are generally timid, the males become very bold during the autumn breeding season; it is not uncommon for them to charge at moving trains. The females utter a loud call, similar to the lowing of cattle, which can be heard up to 1.9 miles (3 km) away. During breeding (the rut), males will compete for females by fighting with their antlers and hoofs and fierce clashing of antlers. As well as bellowing, the female moose emits a strong, odoriferous pheromone in order to attract a mate. She also secretes pheromones in her urine which lets the males know that she is in estrus. Females may begin to breed at 2, but more usually 3, years of age.
The female gives birth to one or (occasionally) two calves at a time in Spring. The gestation period for a moose is about 216-240 days. Moose calves grow very quickly, nourished by their mother's milk, which is very high in fat and other nutrients.
In North America, during the winter, moose may form loose aggregations in fairly dense conifer forests, which they keep open by trampling the snow. In the spring, moose can often be seen in drainage ditches at the side of roads, taking advantage of road salt which has run off the road. These minerals replace electrolytes missing from their winter diet. Conifers: Fir, pine, cedar, juniper, spruce, larch, tamarack, yew, hemlock, etc.
In North America, change in land use patterns, mainly the clearing of northern forests for settlement and agriculture, have led to the range of the White-tailed deer expanding northward. Where their ranges overlap, moose may become infected by parasites carried by the deer such as brain worm, Parelaphostrongylus tenuis, and winter ticks, Dermacentor albipictus, which, though fairly harmless to deer, can be fatal to moose.
The life-span of a moose in the wild is roughly 15 to 25 years.
European rock art and cave paintings reveal that the "elk" (referred to as moose in the USA) has been hunted since the stone age. In Northern Scandinavia one can still find remains of trapping pits used for hunting elk. These pits, which can measure up to 13 feet by 23 feet (4 x 7 m) in plan and be up to 6.5 feet (2 m) deep, would have been camouflaged with branches and leaves. They would have had steep sides lined with planks, making it impossible for the elk to escape once it had fallen in. The pits are normally found in large groups, crossing the elk's regular paths and stretching over several kilometers. Remains of wooden fences designed to guide the animals toward the pits have been found in peat bogs. In Norway, an early example of these trapping devices has been dated to around 3700 BC. Trapping elk in pits is an extremely effective hunting method, and as early as the 16th century the Norwegian government tried to restrict their use. Nevertheless, the method was in use until the 19th century.
Moose are reported to kill more people in Canada than any other animal except, perhaps, for bees (far exceeding the toll of the grizzly bear). Females can be extremely protective of their young, and extreme caution should be exercised when approaching a cow moose. However, the overwhelming majority of human fatalities attributable to moose occur in motor vehicle collisions with moose.
A group of moose is called a "Gang" or "Herd".
It is illegal to feed alcoholic beverages to a moose in Fairbanks, Alaska.
A moose can swim for up to two hours and as far as twelve miles.
There are approximately 2 animals per 10 square kilometers (2 square miles).
Moose consume a huge amount of food every day (about 20 kg, which is 43 lb.).
In Alaska, moose are most abundant in recently burned areas that containing willow and birch shrubs, on timberline plateaus, and along the major rivers of South-central and interior Alaska.
Moose are limited to cool regions because of their large bodies, inability to sweat, and the heat produced by fermentation in their gut. They cannot tolerate temperatures that exceed 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 degrees F.) for long. In summer moose seek shade and cool themselves in ponds and streams. (Wilson and Ruff, 1999)
During fall and winter, moose consume large quantities of willow, birch, and aspen twigs. In some areas, moose actually establish a "hedge" or browse line 6 to 8 feet above the ground by clipping most of the terminal shoots of favored food species. Spring is the time of grazing as well as browsing. Moose eat a variety of foods, particularly sedges, equisetum (horsetail), pond weeds, and grasses. During summer, moose feed on vegetation in shallow ponds; broad-leaved, non-woody, herbaceous plants such as ragweed, and the leaves of birch, willow, and aspen.
Moose have a high reproductive potential and can quickly fill a range to capacity if not limited by predation, hunting and severe weather. Deep crusted snow can lead to malnutrition and subsequent death of hundreds of moose and decrease the survival of the succeeding year's calves.
Moose are killed by wolves and black and brown bears. Black bears take moose calves in May and June. Brown bears kill calves and adults the entire time the bears are out of their winter dens. Wolves kill moose throughout the year. Predation limits the growth of many moose populations in Alaska.
More people hunt moose than any other of Alaska's big game species.
Selecting a Firearm
Every hunter should attempt to make the quickest, most humane kill possible. This requires the proper firearm and the ability to hit a vital area. Rifles should be in good working condition and accurately sighted in. You must be thoroughly familiar with any firearm you use and practice as often as you can. Few people can take a firearm out once each year and shoot well.
Many hunters have a favorite caliber and the firearm restrictions for the moose season are minimal, allowing a wide choice of calibers. However, for the greatest assurance of a clean kill, moose hunters should select a caliber with a minimum 150-grain bullet and a muzzle energy of at least 2,200 foot-pounds. Whatever cartridge you choose, good shot placement is extremely important.
Recommended Bullet Size And Muzzle Energy For Moose
Bullet Size: Min. 150 gr. bullet
Minimum: 2,200 ft. lb.
Muzzle Energy Adequate: 2,600 ft. lb.
Preferred: 3,200 ft. lb.
Recommended Ammunition for Moose
|270 Win. ||30-40 Krag. ||8mm Rem. Mag. |
|280 Rem. ||300 Sav. ||348 Win. |
|284 Win. ||303 British ||358 Win. |
|7mm Mauser ||308 Win. ||444 Marlin|
|7mm Rem. Mag ||300 Win. Mag. ||300 H & H Mag. |
|30-06 Sprfld. |
Moose are large animals and present a large target area. As the diagrams show, the heart is at approximately shoulder level, just behind the junction of the front legs. Powerful ammunition is required to penetrate the large body mass to get through to the heart.
A lung shot, while fatal, will require long tracking times until the animal finally dies.
The best shooting position is the Quartering Away Shot (Above, left) or the Broadside Shot.
Any other angle may put too much body mass in the way for a sure killing shot. Never shoot from the rear.
Trailing and Recovery
Don't expect a moose to go down instantly when hit. Even animals that are vitally hit may travel more than 100 yards and show no signs of being mortally wounded. You must make every effort to recover wounded animals and follow up each shot to determine if a hit was made.
If the moose leaves your sight, mark your location and pinpoint the spot where it was last seen. A compass reading can also be taken of its direction of travel. Carefully inspect the area for blood or hair to help determine if the animal was hit. Remember, blood may not always be evident or easy to find, so follow the moose for a distance even if blood is not found at first.
Wait at least 30 minutes before carefully and quietly following the tracks or blood trail. A wounded animal will often lie down after traveling a short distance, if not immediately pursued. It is important not to mistake another moose for the one you are following. This is most likely to occur in the case of a cow and calf.
Be cautious when approaching any downed game, and make your approach from the rear or sides. A moose will usually die with its eyes open, so watch the eyes. You can check for any sign of life by attempting to touch the eye with a stick. If the animal is alive when it is found, you should finish it quickly with another shot to the base of the skull or another vital area.
Once you are sure the animal is dead, attach your registration tag, usually at the ear. However, be careful around the animal at first, since nerve impulses could cause a dangerous toss of antlers, or a leg to strike suddenly, even after death.
Now is the best time to take pictures -- before you get into the task of field dressing. It is much better to take pictures to show your friends than to display your moose to the public for several days. Such displays create a bad image of hunters and may damage meat as well.
First-time moose hunters need to know that handling the animal once it is killed will not be easy. But, with the appropriate equipment and a bit of knowledge, the job can go smoothly. If you are planning to have your moose butchered by a professional, it would be wise to check with him in advance about his preferences for handling moose.
Whatever you choose to do will depend a great deal on your means of getting the moose out of the woods and how you plan to transport it to camp or home. The "game taste" people often speak of is usually the result of poor handling more than anything else. With proper care, moose meat can be outstanding table fare.
The main cause of moose meat spoilage is heat. You can avoid this danger by field dressing your moose immediately. Allow the meat to cool rapidly by providing good air circulation. You should also take every precaution to keep your moose free of dirt, debris, blood and hair.
Cheesecloth or commercial game bags offer the best protection from dirt and flies and still allow necessary air circulation. A liberal application of black pepper will also help to discourage flies.
Field dressing should take place as soon after the kill as possible. Once the animal is dead, bacterial action can spoil the meat quickly. The chance of spoilage increases the longer you wait and the warmer the temperature. Bleeding your moose is unnecessary in most cases. Normally, the animal will bleed internally, and immediate field dressing will ensure adequate bleeding.
Field Dressing Your Moose
To begin field dressing, position the moose on its back with the head slightly uphill. It may be helpful to tie the legs to nearby trees. Make an incision at the base of the breastbone with the tip of a sharp knife. Be careful not to cut the intestines or other internal organs. The contents can taint the meat. Continue the incision down the length of the belly to the anus. Cut through the skin and thin wall of the body cavity only. Face the blade of the knife upward and away from the internal organs to avoid cutting them. Use the fingers of your free hand as a guide but be careful not to cut yourself.
If the head is not to be mounted, you can continue this cut in the opposite direction to the base of the jaw, exposing the windpipe and esophagus. Using your saw split the chest bone up to the brisket, exposing the contents of the chest cavity. The windpipe and esophagus should now be severed as close to the head as possible. Tie a string tightly around the esophagus to prevent the stomach's contents from spilling.
If you have shot a cow moose, the reproductive tract (ovaries and uterus) can now be removed; you also have the option of waiting until the bowel has been tied. Carefully roll the internal organs out of the body cavity until you see the point where two tubes (the rectum and the vagina) exit through the pelvic bone (see illustration). The vagina is the tube nearest the belly. Grasp this and follow it carefully forward until it forks into two tubes, which are the left and right horns of the uterus.
Once you have located the uterus, insert your fingers under it and work your hand in until the organ lies in the palm of your hand. You will notice a thin, almost transparent membrane which connects this organ to the animal's back. All that now remains is to carefully follow the horns of the uterus to the ovaries. These are bean-shaped organs one to two inches in length. They may be covered with fat so keep looking! When you find them, cut the membranes holding them in place, remove ovaries, and place them in a plastic bag. The uterus can be removed by cutting through the vagina. The ovaries and the uterus should be kept as cool as possible.
Next, circle the anus with your knife, cutting deeply to free the lower bowel. Tie this off with a string to prevent droppings from coming in contact with the meat. Now cut through the flesh of the hams down to the pelvic bone and split it with an ax or saw. You should now be able to free the bladder and rectum from their attachments. Take care not to rupture or spill the contents.
The internal organs can now be removed by turning the moose on its side, and by carefully cutting and pulling, the viscera can be rolled out.
Warning!! Because particularly high cadmium levels have been seen in some moose liver and kidney, it is recommended that you do not consume these organ meats at all.
Quartering is recommended for moose to make handling easier and to allow rapid cooling of the carcass. The hide may be left on each quarter to offer some protection from dirt and flies. If temperatures are warm, you may wish to skin the carcass in the field.
To quarter the animal, you will need a sharp knife and a bone saw. A saw is best to avid bone splinters and damaged meat, but if one is not available, you can use an ax.
Begin by removing the head. To do this, cut through the flesh of the neck with your knife. Saw through the vertebrae, and use your knife again to remove the head. Make your cut as close to the head as possible to avoid wasting many pounds of valuable meat.
The next step will be to halve the animal. This is done by placing the back of your knife against the backbone between the second and third rib. Push the blade outward, completely through the flesh and hide. Cut upward using the ribs as a guide and do the same on the opposite side. You can now separate the halves by sawing through the backbone.
Quartering is accomplished by sawing straight down the backbone of each half. Underlying flesh or hide can be separated with your knife. The task of halving and quartering will be easier if the animal can be elevated on logs or sticks. Trim away any shot-damaged meat that could lead to premature spoilage.
Be sure to attach your tags before removing quarters from the place of kill. If the quarters can not be removed before darkness, try to hang them in a nearby tree or elevate them on logs to aid cooling. Cover them with boughs or meat socks and hang a marker nearby.
Getting Your Moose Out Of the Woods
Getting the moose from the kill site to your vehicle or camp will probably be the toughest task you will face. If you're fortunate, you may be able to drive close to the kill site, but many of the roads through moose hunting zones are private and may not be open to public use.
Another possibility is to locate someone with a skid or work horses. The majority of hunters will end up packing their moose out of the woods instead of using a vehicle. To do this, you can tie the quarters to a pack frame or pack board or even suspend them from a long pole so the load can be shared. Try not to over-exert yourself; the pieces will be heavy, and the going could be rough. It is a good idea to flag each quarter with a piece of blaze orange material to prevent accidents.
If the quarters are still too much to carry, the carcass can be cut into more pieces, but remember, the law requires the field-dressed carcass be delivered to a checking station for examination. Each individual piece must also be labeled with the name, address and hunting license number of the person who shot it.
It is important to get the quarters hung in a cool, shady place, preferably a meat cooler as soon as possible.
Transportation and Cooling|
Always protect the carcass from dirt, heat and moisture. Transport the quarters out in the open if possible. The open back of a pickup works well. Elevate the quarters to keep cool and protect from dirt. If conditions are dusty or rainy, cover them loosely with a porous canvas tarp. Do not stack the quarters, allow them to touch or cover them with plastic. Plastic retains body heat and prevents cooling. If you transport in a covered truck or trailer, you should open windows and vents for proper air circulation.
Once back at camp or your home, hang each quarter from a cross pole of some type in a shady area with good air circulation. If you will have a long trip home, it is best to allow the meat to cool overnight before heading home. If this is not possible, consider traveling at night when temperatures are cooler.
If you are transporting your animal directly home, be cautious about hanging the meat in a garage or shed. Often these areas are not cool enough to allow proper cooling and aging of the carcass.
The quarters should be skinned immediately. If daytime temperatures are above 50 degrees and nighttime temperatures are above 40 degrees, you should remove the hide and cover with cheesecloth. If the temperature is between 50 and 30 degrees, you can wait a few hours before skinning.
In skinning, work the hide away with the fingers, and peel it off while the quarters are hanging. Use a sharp knife to slice between the flesh and skin of the animal as it is pulled away. Be careful not to cut either one.
Whether you skin the quarters or not, you should cover each one with cheesecloth or a meat sock.
Aging and Butchering
Aging is intended to make the meat tender. This is best accomplished at a constant temperature of about 40 degrees. The temperature during aging must never exceed 50 degrees. For this reason, you will probably want the services of a professional butcher.
If you age your meat outdoors, three to five days is sufficient, but the period varies with temperature and size of the animal. Meat can be aged for as long as 14 days in a cooler.
If you will be handling the meat yourself, remove as much fat as possible before freezing. Removal of bones will save freezer space. Double-wrap and tightly seal all cuts of meat to prevent freezer burn. Meat should be frozen at zero degrees. Don't try to freeze too much at once. Label and date all packages for future reference. If you don't have the knowledge or time to process your own moose, then don't risk ruining it; have it processed at a commercial facility.
Disposal of Unwanted Parts
Any waste or unwanted parts of your moose should be disposed of properly. Don't leave entrails or parts of the carcass open to view or visible from a road. Deep burial of waste is best whenever possible, and many towns prohibit the disposal of dead animals or animal parts in municipal dumps. You might also try checking with a local butcher about appropriate disposal of waste.
Cooking Moose Meat
In the months following the hunt, a successful hunter will have many pounds of meat to enjoy. Moose meat is considered excellent table fare, and like any meat, it is best when prepared properly. Most books on game cooking contain recipes for moose or venison, and you can use some of your favorite venison recipes with delicious results.
Canadian Moose Soup Recipe #134592
2 1/4 lbs moose (1 inch cubes)
12 cups water
1 onion, chopped, large
3 carrots, chopped
1 turnip, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
1/4 cup rice
1 1/2 Tsp. salt
1. In a large boiler add 12 cups water, 2 ½ lbs. Moose meat.
2. Add chopped onion and let boil for one hour.
3. Add chopped vegetables and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Add rice and simmer until rice is cooked. Makes 10-12 servings.
10-12 servings, 45 minutes 15 minutes prep
Slow Cooker Moose Roast
Source: all recipes.com
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 8 Hours
Ready In: 8 Hours 10 Minutes
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 pounds moose roast
2 cups apple juice
1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the roast on all sides in the hot oil. Remove, and transfer to a slow cooker. A large Dutch Oven will work as a "slow" cooker. - RT
Sprinkle onion soup mix over the roast, then pour in the apple juice. Cover and cook on MEDIUM for 6 to 8 hours, or until meat is very tender. Check occasionally to make sure there is sufficient liquid, and add more juice if necessary. Serve roast with juices, or thicken them for a tasty gravy. Serves 12.
My Favorite Moose Jerky
Source: hunting society.org
4 lb. moose roast
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups beer
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup lite soy sauce
1/4 cup whiskey
1/2 tsp. onion powder
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp. ginger (grated)
2 Tsp. orange peel (grated)
Trim fat from roast as you cut into slices 1/4 inch thick by 1 to 2 inches wide. Place meat in marinade, made by combining above ingredients in glass or ceramic bowl. Marinate for at least 24 to 36 hours in a cool place. Remove to wire rack and allow to air dry until glazed. (about 45 minutes). Use hickory chips soaked in water and added to coals to smoke the jerky 12 to 16 hours at 150 to 175 degrees.
Moose Roast Baked in Foil
Source: hunting society.org
3-4 lb. Roast
1/2 pkg. dry onion soup
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place roast on piece of heavy duty aluminum foil. Sprinkle 1/2 pkg. of dry onion soup over meat. Bring edges of foil together and seal tightly. Place in shallow roasting pan and bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. There will be ample juice collected inside foil which can be thickened for gravy.
Moose Steaks and Chops
Source: hunting society.org
Moose should always be marinated in buttermilk for one day.
To cook young steaks or chops, heat a heavy skillet until quite hot and add half butter and half oil. Saute the meat, turning it frequently to brown to taste. If you like, flame the meat with cognac just before serving.
Steaks and chops from young animals may be cooked in the same manner as beef steaks or lamb chops: broiled, grilled or sauteed.
When broiling or cooking on an outdoor grill, cook quickly and DO NOT OVERCOOK! Game will become tough or dry with long broiling or frying. Salt & pepper to taste.
To saute young chops or steaks, melt butter in a heavy skillet. Add meat to the hot skillet and saute it by turning it often on both sides so that it will brown without charring. Salt and pepper to taste.
Easy Moose Stew
Source: hunting society.org
Cut moose into chunks
Add some bacon fat to the meat
Place in pot with water to cover
Add Celery, Onion and Carrots
Bulk sausage of choice (remove casing, if any)
Add salt, pepper, garlic, oregano sugar and accent
Remove vegetables and blend. Be sure not to over-cook as this will dry out your game meat. Side dish of boiled and buttered carrots
Side dish of potatoes
Brown moose and sausage in a large pot, add all vegetables and saute till lightly browned. Add red wine, broth and seasonings. Let simmer 30 minutes. Remove meat. Blend sauce and vegetables from the pot to thicken. Put thickened sauce back into pot or serving dish and serve.
Sauteed Moose Steak
Source: hunting society.org
5 Moose steaks cut 1-inch thick--backstrap & tenderloin are the best
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
salt & pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
Marinate 3 days in buttermilk.
Beat eggs. Set aside. Mix all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, and seasoned salt. Dip steaks into buttermilk/egg mixture and then dredge them on both sides in the flour mixture. Saute for 5-6 minutes on medium-high heat until golden brown or desired doneness.
Game meat, moose, cooked, roasted
1 piece, cooked (yield from 1 pound raw meat, boneless) (340 grams)
This food is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium. It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Iron, Phosphorus, Zinc and Selenium, and a very good source of Vitamin B12.
This food is high in Cholesterol.