Moose can be found all over Newfoundland and in Southern Labrador. The population of moose around the province fluctuate with the availability of food and other factors, but during some years the provincial population has been estimated to go as high as 160,000 animals.
Moose is the largest member of the deer family. Large males can stand over 2 metres (7 feet) tall and weigh over 545 kilograms (1200 pounds). Females are slightly smaller but are still taller than other provincial animals. The colour is usually deep brown, but there is some variation. The heavier winter coat tends to be longer, thicker, and lighter in colour than the summer coat. A flap of skin known as the bell hangs down from the throat.
Mating takes place in the fall as the forests fill with the angry bellowing challenges of the bulls and the moaning calls of the cows. Bulls have been known to chase people and attack vehicles at this time of year - which is usually referred to as the "rut". Females with young calves are also dangerous. Calves are usually born in late May. They stay with the mother until the following spring. After mating, the moose often gather in "yards" or valleys featuring a good supply of food and shelter from the winter winds.
During summer, waterlilies and a variety of aquatic plants are favourite foods of moose. The leaves of birch, alder, and fir trees together with a host of smaller woodland and marshland plants are also eaten. Moose can spend almost a full minute underwater while feeding on pond lilies and other freshwater plants.
Moose can be found almost anywhere. In the early 1990s a moose walked into a St. John's supermarket, and every year the province's capital city is visited by moose. Every community south of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, has its moose stories.
Moose pose a serious hazard on the highway, especially in the hours between dusk and dawn. They are unpredictable around moving vehicles and will sometimes panic. These frightened moose often doom themselves and the people in the vehicle to a dangerous collision. Almost every Newfoundlander and Labradorian knows somebody who has had a frightening experience or a more serious incident with a moose. When you drive at night anywhere in the province, always be alert for these animals.
A slow drive along many of our highways will often bring about moose sightings. Moose alert signs are posted in many areas where moose are commonly seen; although once you are in the woods away from communities, you almost always have some chance of finding a moose. Look for them in forest clearings and near ponds or rivers. The National Parks provide especially good moose watching opportunities.
Every year at Red Indian Lake lodge we harvest bulls in the 45-48 inch range with 36 being the average. To hunt the moose we use several techniques. We call, immitating either a cow or another bull, spot and stock, hunting old clear cuts finding moose feeding on the young growth. Our primary method is getting to a high vantage point and glassing. Methods of travel while hunting varies from the use of pick-up trucks with the main method of travel being 8x8 Argos. These Argos alow us to access very remote areas only accesiable by aircraft. We can make it an easy hunt or more chalenging depending on the hunters capability. It 's a thrilling experience when this animal answers the call of an experienced guide during the rut and comes thrashing through the woods.
As with any big game trophy, you'll not carry this prize on your back. We have 8x8 Argos that we use to retrieve your game thismakes the hunt a much more enjoyable experiance. If you are hunting 2x1 it also gets the job done quick so your buddy can get right back to his hunt. If you can take it down... we'll truck it out.
Feel free to ask our knowledgable staff regarding regulations, license fees, season dates, pursuing techniques, or anything you might need. We're more than happy to help.
Government of Newfoundland & Labrador: Hunting Regulations & License Information
About 700 moose-vehicle collisions occur on the Province's highways every year. People have been killed in these accidents. More often they are injured, resulting in hospitalization, time off work, and loss of pay. Cost estimates for vehicle damage alone are more than $1 million annually.
Why do moose use roadways?
Roadways often run through areas of prime moose habitat. More importantly, roads tend to attract moose which come there to:
- feed on the vegetation along the roadside
- gain relief from flies in the open windswept right-of-ways
- in winter, to travel roadways cleared of deep snow
- or simply to move from one part of the habitat to another
Can this be prevented?
As long as there are moose in Newfoundland, they will be found on the highway. Data show that even in areas with very low moose density, moose are still attracted to roadways and can pose a hazard to drivers.
Whistles, reflectors, and odor repellents to frighten big game from passing vehicles or keep them from roadsides have been tested in North America and Europe; so far none have proven to be effective or economically feasible.
Care and attention when driving remains your best defense against a moose-vehicle accident.
When do accidents occur?
While accidents are reported year round, more than 70% occur between May and October. The three most critical months are June, July, and August.
The majority of accidents occur between dusk and dawn. This is the time when driver visibility is severely limited by darkness, and when moose are most active. Most accidents occur on clear nights. So to avoid an accident, when you drive, think Moose!
Where do accidents occur?
Most of the Provincial highway system runs through good moose habitat. Thus, a driver can expect to encounter moose while traveling on any section of the Trans Canada Highway (TCH) or on any secondary roads. Many accidents occur on straight stretches of roadway. More accidents occur on certain sections of roadway. These HIGH-RISK areas are marked with moose crossing warning signs as illustrated.
How can I avoid an accident?
- Slow down when driving at night. This will allow you more time to respond to a moose on or near the highway.
- Pay attention to Warning Signs; they mark High-Risk areas. These signs were placed along the roadways for you! Slow down and watch for moose.
- Scan both sides of the road ahead as far as possible, especially when you are in a posted High-Risk accident zone. The best way to avoid an accident is to spot the moose well in advance. Drivers report that in most accidents they did not see the moose until immediately before impact. Moose on the right side of the vehicle are avoided more often than those on the left because drivers concentrate more on the right. Therefore, it important to scan both sides of the road.
- Use extreme caution whenever you see an animal. No matter what it appears to be doing or how far it is from the road, slow down.
- Moose are unpredictable. The moose you see standing calmly at the edge of the road could bolt in front of your vehicle at the last moment.
- Don't let yourself be distracted. A driver who is alone and concentrating on the road is less likely to strike a moose, than is a driver whose attention wanders while talking to a passenger.
- Remember most accidents occur on clear nights and on straight road sections, maybe because drivers are more cautious on curves or in poor weather.
- Keep your windshield and headlights clean.
- Drive with your headlights on high beam unless approaching, or overtaking, other traffic.
- Wear your seat belts. Seat belts save lives.
Your attention is the critical factor in avoiding an accident.
Moose Subspecies Of The World
The Eastern Canadian Moose (Alces alces americana)
The Eastern Moose was introduced very successfully into the Province of Newfoundland to Gander Bay, NF in 1878 and to Howley, NF in 1904. Eastern Canada moose have a bulky body with a short, stubby tail and a long, oblong head. Adult body coloration of the moose is generally brownish black. The face lightens to a brown color in summer and becomes darker, almost black, in color as breeding season approaches. The legs are lighter in color than the body. Except for its slightly darker coloration and some cranial differences, the Eastern Moose is indistinguishable from the Western sub-species. Their ranges overlap north of Lake Superior, so most moose in this area are likely to be a hybrid between the Eastern and Western sub-species. Both the Boone and Crockett, and the Pope and Young Clubs combine these two sub-species together under the heading Canadian Moose.
The Western Canadian Moose (Alces alces andersoni)
Western Canada moose (also called Northwestern moose) have a bulky body with a short, stubby tail and a long, oblong head. Adult body coloration of the moose is generally brownish black. The face lightens to a brown color in summer and becomes darker, almost black, in color as breeding season approaches. The legs are lighter in color than the body. This Western sub-species of the moose weighs about 800 to 1000 pounds for a large bull.
Cow moose are not a lot smaller than the bulls, and weigh only about 100 to 130 pounds less. This moose sub-species will have a set of antlers that typically measures in the 45 to 58-inch range.
The Yukon-Alaska Moose (Alces alces gigas)
There are the largest moose in the world. Alces gigas is a comparatively new species, having been described in 1899. An average mature bull will stand between 6 and 6 1/2 feet at the shoulder, and weigh about 1,200 pound with some larger males that would reach 1,500 pounds mark. The antlers of a mature male could span 65 inches or more and weigh up to 70 pounds. Bulls lose their antlers during the winter, they grow back from spring to fall will surpass the antler growth of a white-tailed buck during his entire lifetime. All bull moose will experience their largest antler spread, maximum number of points and largest palm size between the ages of 8 ½ years to 10 ½ years old. At present the Yukon-Alaska Moose is still quite numerous along the Yukon and its tributaries. In the winter this is still the staple diet of Indians
The Shiras Moose (Alces alces shirasi)
Shiras moose, also known as Wyoming moose, is the smallest of the subspecies of moose. In addition to being slightly more compact than its northern cousins, the Shiras Moose is noticeably lighter in color along its back. The face lightens to a brown color in summer and becomes darker, almost black, in color as breeding season approaches. Moose of both sexes have a "bell" which is the flap of skin and long hair that hangs from the throat. The legs are lighter in color than the body. A Shiras bull will weigh up to 1,000 pounds, while standing 5'6" to 5'9" at the shoulder. It carries a rack that spreads from 40 to 50 inch wide. Shiras moose are found in western Wyoming, western Montana, northern and central Idaho, southwestern Alberta, southeastern British Columbia, and in isolated areas of Utah, Colorado, and extreme northwestern Washington
The European Moose (Alces alces machlis)
Its summer coat is a rich, dark color, although this varies from black to dark brown, reddish brown, or grayish brown. The back may be slightly lighter in tone, while the legs are much lighter, generally tan or gray. In winter, the coat becomes thicker, dulling in color to a grayish-brown. The young resemble adults, and, unlike many deer, do not have spots or other markings.
The broad nose overhangs the muzzle and acts as a prehensile appendage resembling a miniature trunk. There is a pendulous flap of skin under the throat known as a bell, as well as a short, dense mane on the nape of the neck. The legs of the European Moose are extremely long and slender, while the body is heavy and the neck short. The large antlers have a spread of up to 6 feet. The European Moose range goes from Norway, Sweden and Finland to Russia and Siberia. There is also a small population of moose in Poland.