Moose are big. In the fall, an adult cow (female) moose can weigh from 500-700 pounds and a bull (male) moose will weigh anywhere from 600-1000 pounds. They can stand up to 6 feet tall at the shoulder including legs 3½ - 4 feet in length.
Only bulls grow antlers. These antlers begin growing in March to early April, completing by August when the velvet is shed. Antlers start dropping in December, though some young bulls retain their antlers until late winter. The bell, the flap of skin and long hair that hangs from the throat, is more pronounced in adult bulls than in cows or immature bulls.
Many people are surprised to learn there are moose (Alces alces) living in Massachusetts. Moose have been absent from the state from the early 1700's. As recently as the 1970's a moose sighting was considered a rare sight. Why are moose here now? As early settlers cleared the extensive forests in the state for pastures and farming, moose habitat disappeared and so did the moose. This was a trend through much of New England. Habitat for moose recovered due in part to farmers moving out to the more fertile Midwest or to factories during the Industrial Revolution.
Moose are now reclaiming their former range and moving into areas where they haven't been seen for hundreds of years.
Moose populations got a boost in northern New England states from a combination of forest cutting practices and lack of moose harvest which created ideal moose habitat and allowed for high reproduction and survival rates. Gradually, as the population increased, moose moved southward into their historic range and by the early 1980's this largest member of North America's deer family moved into northern Worcester and Middlesex Counties and began to breed and disperse through central Massachusetts.
In 2007, MassWildlife biologists estimate 850-950 moose live in Massachusetts, with the majority of them found in northern Worcester County. During the year, moose home ranges vary from 5-50 square miles depending on the season. MassWildlife has been monitoring moose populations through sighting reports, roadkills and urban/suburban situations. A recent study has begun to catch and collar moose to follow their movements and gain an understanding of this animal's movements, reproduction and survival rates.
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