Friday, January 8, 2010

Bullwinkle Found!

Finding any dropped antlers is always a great feeling, its hard to explain the accomplishment I feel when I find even one an antler of any size. I guess the best way to sum it up is that it is like a treasure hunt--a hunt based on observations made over the past 6 months. I look at topographic maps and locate food sources, bedding areas and the trails that go to and from.

A few weeks ago Cam found this amazing moose shed while on a late fall hike. What was amazing, beyond its size, was how fresh it was. In fact it still had small amounts of blood on the end indicating that it was VERY fresh.

Why do antlers shed? Like other ungulates, moose lose their antlers for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is to allow for new growth - much like a child loses their teeth to allow for adult teeth to grow; the primary difference being that deer lose their antlers every year. Many suggest that another reason is to alleviate stress during the more difficult times of their annual cycle. Winter can impose harsh conditions on deer and by shedding their antlers, they simply conserve energy.


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