Moose "A" typical or Non-Typical Paddles

by Gordon Holmes

Moose Dead Head with Abnormal Antler Growth - Full View

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!

~ Mark

Comments for Moose "A" typical or Non-Typical Paddles

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by: Anonymous

That looks like the moose has two different horn's on each side.

Looks very abnormal to me. I've seen a lot of antlers, but nothing even close to that.

Old Age Factor
by: Anonymous

Another factor for uncommon horn development in moose is old age.
The mass of a bull's antlers will shrink once he is in his teens. Since this skull is not a shed, it's fair to consider that he was a senior citizen, and he may have died of old age or predation as a result. A scan of the wear and tear on his teeth would tell more about his age.
It's an interesting find.

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