MOOSE (Algonquian m usu, Knirtencanx mouswah, w? - ea t e r ) The popular name for the deer of the genus Alces, the largest quadru peu of North America. The male, called 'bull moose,' is much larger than the female ('cow'), and stands six feet high or more at the shoulders, while the weight may exceed half a ton. The head is very large, and bears antlers of remark able size and shape. They consist of an imper fectly separated anterior and posterior part. both in the female, and in the yearling male are only knobs an inch high. The ungainly aspect of the head is greatly increased by the large nostrils, and the large. hairy muzzle, which is almost long and muscular enough to be a proboscis, and it practically serves that purpose in gathering leaves, lichens, and twigs. The neck is short and stout, hut the legs are very long. so that the animal cannot accommodate itself to feeding from the ground, and consequently seeks its food on shrubs and trees. The front legs are consider ably longer than the roar ones, and this makes its gait, whether slow or fast, extremely awk ward. The color of the moose is generally some shade of brown, the legs yellowish, hut the pelage varies with age and season, and may he strongly grayish. During the summer moose are solitary in their habits, except that the young are usually found with the mother. The breeding season begins in September and mating goes on through the fall. At this season the bulls lose their natural timidity, become savage, and will readily attack any animal or even mail, if their rage is aroused.
During the winter the moose often gather in small herds and form 'moose-yards' by trampling down the suns- over a limited area, so that the shrubs and young trees become available for food. The young are horn in the spring or early summer, one or two at a birth, and remain with the mother until the third year. Moose are among the very finest of game animals and have been so eagerly sought, not only for sport, but for meat, which is highly prized, that their numbers have been greatly reduced in all the settled parts of America. They are hunted in
the late summer and early fall, oftentimes by means of jack-lights, as are other deer, but later in the season they are generally captured after being called within gunshot, the 'call' being a rude trumpet made of a roll of birch-bark, through which the voice of the animal is imitated. In winter moose are often followed on snow shoes. When taken young, moose arc easily tamed, and there are many instances recorded of their use as draught animals.
Many writers regard the elk (dices malchis) of the Old World as identical with the moose, while others hold the moose specifically distinct ( A lees Americana). Recently the moose of the Yukon valley, called the Alaskan moose (Alces yigas), has been separated as a third species. The differences between these species are. how ever, very slight, consisting of slight variations in the palmation of the horns, the color of the pelage, and the size. The Alaskan moose is undoubtedly the largest form known. In the Old World the elk is found throughout Northern Asia and Europe, as far south as Eastern Prussia, the Caucasus, and Northern China. The common moose of Amer ica is found throughout Canada and southward into Mailw, Minnesota, and the northern Rocky Mountains. The. killing of moose is now• (1903) prohibited in all the northern tier of States, and in Ontario and Newfoundland, except as follows: Bull moose may be killed for 47 drys in October and November in Maine, and for 5 days in No vember in Minnesota. There is an open season for moose in the fall in Oregon, Wyoming. Wash ington, and all parts of Canada, not mentioned In Maine, Quebec, Ontario, Minnesota, and Washington, only one moose may be shot by one hunter in a season. The Alaskan moow is found in Northwestern British Columbia, Yukon, a101 Ala..ka as far north as the Arctic Ocean, and westward to the Yukon Delta and along the south coast as far as Katmai. Consult authori ties mentioned under DEER; and see Plate of NORTH AMERICAN DEER.