Moose are one of the most majestic creatures that you can witness. They can appear in the middle of the road during summer, or in a blue night in winter. Once you witness the tall legs of the moose and the large and graceful antlers of a moose, you will understand why so many people are fond of moose preservation and moose watching. Here’s how you can identify moose tracks in order to track them down and observe them in their natural environment.
- Size. On the ground, you will notice that the typical track print is a bit over six inches in length. The size of the moose tracks is one of the clearest distinctions between the moose and the deer. Deer tracks are usually much smaller. Apart from the size, you will also notice that the moose tracks plows deeper into the ground, compared to deer. This is because of the lighter weight which moose have, compared to deer which are much lighter. In very soft soils and snow, a moose track may even seem like holes dug in a line in the ground.
- Shape. The shape of the moose tracks is that of a heart. You can use the heart shaped tracks of a moose to determine the direction where the moose is heading. Usually, the pointed end of the heart shaped track is the direction where the moose is going. The patterns which the moose tracks create will also give you some insight on the activities which the moose have been doing in the area. For instance, crisscrossing patterns usually indicate that moose have been staying in an area for a while. If there are edible food items in the area, the moose may have been foraging.
- Age. The age of the moose can also be determined by the shape of the hooves which are left as imprints on the soil. If you notice that the hooves are pointy and sharp, the tracks are made by younger bulls or by cows, or female moose. The wider and more prominently heart shaped moose tracks are usually made by older and more mature bulls.
- Stride. Another way to determine whether the tracks are made by a moose or not is by measuring the distance between each step that the moose makes. Usually, an adult moose will create a stride that is about 30 to 40 inches in length, more or less. If the strides are much smaller, it can be caused by other animals that live in the forest. If the track size is perfectly similar to a moose’s, but the stride is much too large, the moose may have been running. Check to see whether the tracks are messy and if there is upturned earth, which will indicate a running moose.
- Footprint. Finally, you should also be able to determine the parts of the moose footprint or track. There should be two hooves, behind which are two toes which are smaller in size.
Once you know how to determine moose tracks, be sure that you approach the creatures quietly and gently. ATV vehicles will scare them away. Once you get a sight of the moose, you can take photographs, instead of turning the visit into moose hunting trips. You can even send the photographs to hunting lodges, with a note to help protect the animals.