Moose Territoriality

by Tala Lakota
(TN)

Bull Moose early in the year.<br/><i>Photo by Vickie King</i>

Bull Moose early in the year.
Photo by Vickie King

Are moose territorial? I've seen a few other articles online some saying they are extremely territorial, some not at all, and some only during mating season, etc etc. Not helpful :-\ Hoping you can be :-)



Tala, thanks for your question...

Are moose territorial? No, not in the same sense a bear or a pack of wolves are. They do not rule over X number of square miles or kilometers but moose do have a Home Range in which they live.

Will moose defend their location against other intruders, yes.

It has been better described as "temporary expropriation of ground" because it is only during certain times of the year where a moose will defend its current location.

The two main periods and locations in question are during calving season and during the rut.

During the calving season a cow moose is extremely sensitive to any and all intruders into her temporal space and will defend the area and her calf vigorously. However, this defense is more about calf protection than territorial rights. During the summer, cow calf groups always have an area of defense about them in which they will not allow a bull to approach. This area diminishes as fall and mating season approaches. Again, the area is not defined by solid boundaries but more an area of protection that follows the group of animals about during their daily lives.

The other case is to be made for bull moose during the rut. The "territory" is deemed to be the area surrounding its harem or mate. A bull will for certain challenge any suitors that may try to upset his dominance. He is defending his mate not so much an area.

In both these cases the moose territory is only temporary. During the remainder parts of the year bulls often congregate together in bachelor groups and cows and calves are frequently found together.

Mark
"The Moose Man"

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