This largest member of the deer family loves cold weather and frequents marshy meadows and edges of lakes and streams. About 800 moose inhabit the southern part of Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park and surrounding national forests.
Moose are most heavily concentrated in Grand Teton Park. Look for them at Willow Flats, Christian Pond (near Willow Flats) and around Oxbow Bend.
In Yellowstone, see them in Willow Park, between Norris Junction and Mammoth Hot Springs. Also check out the Yellowstone Lake, Fishing Bridge and Hayden Valley regions.
To keep from sinking in mud while feeding, as the animal lowers its foot, a large dewclaw spreads to better support the weight. Similarly, the odd-looking crook of the hind leg allows a moose to pull the leg straight up, more easily releasing it from deep, sucking mud.
Bull moose lose their antlers anytime between December and March. The majority of the moose drop them in January. Immature bulls may not shed their antlers for the winter, but retain them until the following spring. Female moose do not have antlers.
A new set of antlers begin to grow the following spring, nourished by the covering of furry skin known as velvet. They take three to five months to develop fully – the velvet is then scraped and rubbed off against bushes and branches. The antlers are then ready for battle. Generally, each set of antlers will be larger than the one before.
Birds, carnivores and rodents eat dropped antlers as they are full of protein and moose themselves will eat antler velvet for the nutrients.
Take note—cow moose with young can be particularly dangerous.