Whose Scat is That? - Moose Edition

Whose Scat is That? - Moose Edition

This will be the first in a series of posts on identifying animals and the scat we all take care to step over on our travels.  Finding scat is an excellent way to get an insight into the type of creatures with which we're sharing the wild.  To start the series off we'll start with moose, a heavy hitter when it comes to the creation of some backcountry brown.

Moose are the largest members of the deer family, with males weighing up to 1400 lbs.  They can be found in the U.S. in Alaska, New England and the upper Rockies, and are wide spread across Canada and Russia.  Due to their size, signs of moose can be fairly easy to spot when you're out on the trail.  Large narrow hoofed footprints are a dead give away, as well as large game trails or large swaths of depressed grass that moose occasionally lay down in.  Though not normally aggressive, moose are known to charge when threatened, especially during their mating season in the fall.  Moose are solitary animals, with few predators, and can be surprisingly hard to find in the wild, considering their size.

Water sources with abundant vegetation are excellent places to look.  Moose need to eat at least 50-60 lbs. of food per day to survive.  Their scat is simple to identify, and is an easy hint to when you've entered their territory.  In the winter and early spring, look for piles consisting of distinct round deposits, about 1 inch in diameter, a result of a diet of woody twigs.  Old scat will dry out, but retain its pellet form.  As green vegetation grows more abundant, the scat will appear softer, becoming closer to the look of cow patties.  Don't mistake moose poop for bears'.  Unlike bears, moose are ruminants, and won't have any visible bits of undigested food in their droppings.

When it comes to poo, a moose's droppings actually have some appeal in the modern world.  People routinely collect the pellets and coat them in polyurethane to seal and strengthen them.  They are then fashioned into jewelry, ornaments, and more.  What better gift for that outdoor loving sweetheart then a genuine moose poop pendant.

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