Moose "A" typical or Non-Typical Paddles
by Gordon Holmes
Moose Dead Head with Abnormal Antler Growth - Full View
I found a moose skull in North Idaho. It has two paddles on each side. How rare is this find?
Hi Gordon, thanks for sharing these pictures with us.
Abnormal antler growth is not all that uncommon among moose for a few reasons. Below are a few common results.
Testosterone plays an immense part. Castration during the hard antler period causes casting of antlers within a 2 week period followed by abnormal antler growth. This growth can cause freaks in the growth of antlers, the Peruke being very common, velveted growth and or abnormally shaped growth being another.
A reason for a split antler such as the one you found could have been caused by an incision, cut or damage to the antler bud at the beginning of the growth season. Another theory is that the split is just the division between the main palm and the brow tines but in this case developed at the skull instead of further along the main beam.
Damage to antlers early in the growing season, during the velvet stage when they are quite soft will often result in abnormal growth patterns in moose antlers. The following season when new antlers are grown, normal growth patterns return.
It would be interesting to find the years previous shed antlers from this bull to see if this antler abnormality is recurring or just a result of something that happened this season.
To answer your question: How rare is this find? I would say to find a set of abnormally developed antlers intact on a skull is fairly rare. Finding moose with abnormal growth for whatever reason may not be.
I would have loved to be in your shoes that day! Good score!