Archives: SFW News
Here are some recent updates from the Utah Moose Study, Provided by Joel Ruprecht, USU Graduate Student. This is an important project funded and supported by SFW members.
We’ve been conducting calf searches the last two weeks to see how many radio-collared cow moose produced calves this year. Of the three years we’ve been collecting this information, this has been the best year for calving rates. In the Wasatch Unit as a whole, more than 60% of the cows we surveyed had a calf with them, although calving rates were much higher in the western portion of the unit. In the North Slope of the Uintas, more than 70% of cows had calves. This is great news for the population, although calving rates only tell part of the story. We will follow up throughout the next year to see how many calves survive their first year. Moose calf survival tends to be lower and more variable than adult survival, so until the calves mature to breeding age, they are not overly important to the population.
Interestingly, we did not document any twin calves this year. However, several of our study moose have produced calves three years in a row, although we are finding it is more typical that they calve only every other year. With a little more data we hope to be able to determine what factors influence calving rates. The peak calving period for moose in Utah is late May, but we’ve documented births as early as May 17th until as late as June 10th.
One of our study moose died in the North Slope of the Uintas last month. It appeared to be a very old cow, but the carcass was mostly consumed by scavengers at the time of inspection so the cause of death is unknown.
Finally, an article on our project and this year’s calf searches was published recently in the Daily Herald. Follow this link to take a look.
— Joel Ruprecht