*Note* This article does not tell us what the actual “recruitment” rate for moose has been since collaring began. This is vitally important in a better understanding of the fate of Maine’s moose. If there are not enough calf moose to survive to replace the total mortality of moose each year, the overall population will continue to spiral downward.
So what is exactly happening when it comes to birth rates of Maine moose? This year biologists have confirmed that 10 of a likely 20 cows had calves. Why likely? It’s hard to determine the age of some moose, and moose don’t give birth until they are nearly 3 at the earliest. Last year, 11 of 18 cows had calves.
These numbers don’t tell the whole story concerning reproduction as well because calves are susceptible to bears, coyotes and other predators before a biologist may be able to confirm a birth. That’s why biologists will examine the ovaries of hunter-harvested moose and conduct aerial flights to determine cow/calf dynamics, in addition to the walk-ins, to see if an adult has given birth.