Moose and Cattle
by Mary Beth
I observed a moose lying in a field with a couple of cows. I've always thought they were solitary. What would cause a moose to do that?
The interspecific relationship between moose and cattle is not unheard of. There are actually many documented instances of moose courting cattle and in at least once instance a bull moose tried to mount a dairy cow. (The Globe and Mail September 22, 1986)
Moose and cattle compete for the same willow forage in summer when cattle are moved into riparian zones at higher elevations. These types of interactions occur in Colorado. (R. Kufeld 1995)
British Columbia and Manitoba have both had moose and cattle competing for forage directly and indirectly on agricultural lands.
There is speculation that urinary vomerones and pheromones of dairy cattle may contain identical substances of those of cow moose when in heat.
The attraction of moose to dairy cows can actually be quite troublesome; both to the cattle and the farmer. Bull cows have actually been chased off of their herds and more than one farmer has had to make hasty retreats to secure a safe distance from a protective bull moose.
In most cases the interaction of cattle and moose occurs on the fringe areas of moose habitat and likely involve younger or immature bull moose.
PS: If you happen to see this interaction again, a photograph would be greatly appreciated.
~ Mark "The Mooseman"