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Naturally Curious: What Happens to Bull Moose in Autumn

Written by Vermont Life on . Posted in Outdoor Rec and Nature

Here’s the latest from Mary Holland at Naturally Curious. A naturalist, Mary is sharing some of her observations about Vermont’s natural landscape with Vermont Life readers. We start seeing moose again more frequently in autumn, and you may wonder about their altered appearance (if you’re lucky enough to spot one!).

Photo by Mary Holland.

The mating season for moose begins in mid-September, and peaks around the end of September or the first week in October. By this time bulls have shed the velvet that provided a blood supply to their antlers while they were growing during the summer. Occasionally you see the remains of the velvet hanging from their antlers at this time of year (see photograph). During mating season, bulls are rushing through the forest, seeking a receptive cow and engaging in mock battles with other bulls for the female’s attention. A bull uses his antlers in these challenges, engaging in “antler-pushing” with other males. He also uses his antlers as a tool for thrashing brush and for rooting plants from the bottom of ponds.


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