I have fallen in love. Moose are the most gentlest creatures. I got up close and personal with one for the first time last week at our family trip to the Polar Zoo in Bardu.

The moose is called Elk in Europe and Elg in Norway - but i like 'moose' best. Their average height is about two metres (not including their antlers which can be another metre). The males grow antlers in Spring which fall off after mating season - just before winter.

They say moose are very shy and like to hide behind trees but the moose I met was friendly and personable. Moose mostly live a solitary life in the wild. They can be found in grassy woodlands, crossing roads (although I have never seen this) and sometimes come to take a peek at us from nearby fields.

I've been warned to never get between a mother moose and her young as they are very protective and can charge you if they sense danger. Other than that, Norwegians are quite happy to have their national animal walking around their houses - it brings a sense of nostalgia, like an old family friend popping in to say hi.

Moose is hunted as a game animal. Hunting is closely regulated by the government, but there are no problems with that because Norwegians love and respect their nature and are happy to follow the rules. Only so many moose are allowed to be taken in a certain area per year so hunters carry a radio with them to get updates. If the quota is made in their area, it's time to go home - hunting season is over.

I must admit that moose is very tasty! It's like tender beef with a slight venison flavour. Norwegians usually make a roast dish that brings out the flavour very well. I was a little pouty at first to find out that Norwegians eat their national symbol - but hey, then I remember, not only do Aussies eat Kangaroo but we cull 'em, pack 'em and ship 'em to the rest of the world.


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