Maine certainly has a large population of moose, the Maine State Animal, especially in northern and western parts of the state. Although they are elusive, they can be seen all over the state. In fact, recently there have been sightings of a moose right here on Route 96 in Boothbay. Some years ago a moose actually swam out to Negro Island off Ocean Point Inn. The moose was finally driven off the island by blowing fog horns.
Looking for moose in their natural environment is a popular activity. It is so popular that Maine outfitters offer moose safari trips and personal moose guides. You can do this by paddling in canoes, riding in vans or walking through the woods. These safaris are a great experience. I went on one out of Bingham, Maine, a few years ago and we saw several moose, in Bingham early in the day! It’s lots of fun and a great photo opportunity!
Moose Crossing signs should be taken seriously. There are many fatal accidents involving moose in Maine each year. Especially at night, it is not easy to spot these enormous, very dark, animals when they step into the road. May, June, September, October and December are the best months to see moose. September and October are best if you are looking for a fully antlered bull. Early morning and late day are the best times as they are feeding then.
Moose live for 15-25 years. Male moose weigh about 1200-1500 pounds and females weigh about 900 pounds. Calves are about 30 pounds at birth and weigh 300-400 pounds by the first winter. The young stay with the mother for at least a year. After their first birth, cows often give birth to twins but rarely to triplets. Moose have very poor eyesight but excellent senses of hearing and smell. Color can range from brown to a dusty black. Calves are a light rust color. The flap of skin that hangs below their throat is called a bell.
Mature males shed their antlers in November and December. In the spring they get new antlers which are covered in velvet. The velvet gets scraped off and the antlers become mineralized dead matter. The primary function of the antlers is for display during mating season and to show dominance in the herd. Moose are most active at dawn and dusk.
They are not usually aggressive but can be if they are hungry, tired or harassed. People should be warned that moose are wild unpredictable dangerous animals. The bulls are more aggressive toward people during mating season. The females are more aggressive when they are pregnant or have calves with them. If a moose is going to attack, it raises the long hairs on its hump, puts its ears back and licks its lips!!!
When I was a a child visiting in Canada, local men made horns out of birch bark to call moose. At dusk and into the evening the moose would congregate in the river about a half mile away. It was really neat to blow into the horn and then wait for the moose to call back!
Check out some of the roads where you are most likely to see moose in Maine. It is worth the search!!
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