While most hunters are careful and ensure they properly identify the moose they are harvesting, knowing the difference can be challenging (even for skilled hunters!). That’s why Ontario’s Conservation Officers want you to play your role in protecting Ontario’s moose population by learning the difference between moose calves, yearlings, and cows.
A moose under the age of one is a calf. Some defining characteristics are a small, fine-featured nose, short ears, almost no bell (which is a beard-like flap of hair-covered skin under the throat), short triangular-shaped face, and their head appears shorter and stouter than an adult moose. They have a square body shape, and a sharply pointed shoulder hump. They also appear to have more leg than body, and stand about 1.2 metres high at the shoulder, and typically weigh between 350 to 400 pounds.
A cow moose in its second year is known as a yearling and is considered an adult in Ontario. An adult female is a cow, and the adult male is a bull. Cow moose have long over-hanging bulbous nose, a longer more rectangular shaped face with prominent ears and bell. Yearlings and adult moose are more rectangular-shaped than calves and stand about 6 feet high at the shoulder, and weigh between 700 to 1,200 pounds.
If you see a single moose without antlers, take time to search for a nearby calf. Yearlings are independent and less likely to follow cows closely as calf moose.
If you see a natural resource violation, call the MNRF TIPS line at 1-877-847-7667 toll-free anytime. With your help in properly identifying moose, and establishing safe hunting practices, and reporting natural resource violations, we can continue to enjoy Ontario’s natural resources in a safe and respectful manner.