August 23, 2014

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What’s More Exciting than a Moose Track?

I guess the answer to that question really depends on where you live.  If your out West I’m sure a Grizzly track would undoubtedly take your breath away.  I know that from first hand experience and I can certainly say there isn’t a track I have found that really makes you pay more attention to your surroundings like a Grizzly track does.  But where I live there isn’t anything more exciting than discovering a Moose track .   

There was a time when you would have been hard pressed to come across a Moose track in the Adirondacks but over the past decade they seem to be reestablishing themselves with a resident population. I went on 4 hikes last year within the blue line, as far as 50 miles from home to the north of me and 5 miles to the west.

On three out of those 4 hikes I found Moose Tracks, statistically that’s a HUGE percentage.  It wasn’t like I was going out of my way either looking for Moose tracks or scat, they just happened to be wherever I was going.   There is no way being in the East you can confuse a Moose track with any other animal. Measuring 5 to 6 inches in length not even the largest Whitetail Deer could come close to leaving a track that large.  If your getting into Elk country their tracks average out at 4 to 4 3/4 inches long so there’s still a fair difference in size to be able to tell the two animals apart especially if your finding tracks in the 6 inch range.

One of the best tips  for tracking is to always carry a tape measure. What I use and by far the most convenient in my opinion is a cloth or vinyl seamstress tape.  If you roll it up they take virtually no space in your pack or camera bag. I usually cut mine down at the 12 inch mark there’s no need for you to be lugging along a full 60 inch tape with you. You can just as easily step the tape off at one foot increments to measure strides. I’d be a poor salesman if I didn’t mention that the MyNature Animal Track app has a built in tape measure for just such an occasion.

Getting back to our Moose, you have a much better chance at locating a track if there is some type of water near by, a stream, creek, beaver pond, lake or river.  In the picture to the left you can actually see the difference in the size of a Moose track and a Whitetail Deer. The Whitetail tracks are heading across the image and the Moose tracks are coming out from the water.

Now that the Moose is back to stay in the Adirondacks you’ll inevitably come across a pile of scat at some point in time. Again the sheer size of Moose scat is enough to give away the animals identity. Moose scat has the same familiar shape as other deer scat.  Moose scat measures 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch in diameter and from 1 to 1- 1/2 inches long, more than twice the size of the more commonly found deer scat. Moose tracks and scat are an incredible find in the wilderness and one of the more exciting ones at that. If your lucky enough to come across either you may just get a glimpse of their owner, keep a sharp eye out and your camera at the ready.  Happy Tracking !!

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