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If you see trees with scratched bark, this might mean Moose are in the area. Listen for them!
In-game description

Moose are large, solitary animals in The Long Dark. They can appear rarely in any region and can be difficult to find. Their hides and meat are useful, but they are aggressive and can cause serious injury when provoked.

Overview

Moose are the largest and toughest of prey animals and can be dangerous if provoked. Their movements resemble deer, but a moose will charge the player if approached close (similar to the behavior of bears). Before charging a moose will first adopt a stiff, threatening posture and snort to attempt to intimidate the player into backing off.

Drops

  1. If carcass is harvested
  2. If carcass is quartered.

Behaviour

Moose have three paces: walking, fleeing and charging. They behave similar to deer when roaming, stopping to sniff the ground or raise their head to listen. Moose do not actively hunt the player but will attack if approached or provoked. Possible locations for moose are marked by scratches on trees; moose are rarely far from these marked areas, though they may despawn for extended periods.

Moose do not respond to the presence of other animals, but rabbit, deer, and wolves will flee from nearby moose. Bear and moose will ignore one another.

Hostility

Moose in hostility posture - The player is too close.

Moose have a detection radius within which they become aware of the player. When the player is within the radius, moose will stop walking and turn to stare at the player, grunting and stomping on the ground as a warning. If the player fails to leave the radius immediately, the moose will charge and attempt to trample the player (except on Pilgrim, where they will flee unless provoked). A moose will immediately charge any player that fires a projectile or otherwise attacks/attempts to attack it. Similar to bears, moose will only charge if it can access the player's location; otherwise it will flee.

Trampling

Should a charging moose reach the player, a one-sided struggle will ensue (similar to bear struggles, in that the animal always wins). After which the player will pass out, and wake up 10%-50% Condition lost, the Broken Ribs affliction (see below), their equipped weapon on the ground, and distorted vision. The moose will still be nearby, and may attack again should the player not flee immediately.

Broken Ribs

Moose attacks inflict a unique affliction: Broken Ribs, which reduces carrying capacity and greatly reduces Stamina for 120 Hours (in-game) while your character fully heals, even with treatment. Additionally Broken Ribs makes it impossible to rope climb until the affliction is healed (except temporarily, while under the effects of an Emergency Stim).

If your character is trampled again whilst already suffering from broken ribs, subsequent Broken Ribs afflictions will take incrementally longer to heal.

Fleeing

Charging moose are not deterred by flares, torches, rifle shots, or arrows: only being killed or shots from the distress pistol will deter it. Also, moose will turn and retreat if no navigable path to the player is available (e.g., in tight spaces like rock crevice or elevated position such as a rock formation).

  • Moose are afraid of campfires and will run away from them.
  • Thrown stones outside a moose's line of sight generally cause them to flee. This can be useful if a moose is blocking an essential path.

Unprovoked moose flee from gunshots and close arrow impacts.

Hunting

Unlike other wildlife, moose do not suffer from blood loss. This makes killing moose more difficult, likely requiring multiple shots to bring one down. It is possible to kill a moose with one shot, most likely a critical hit on their head, but moose typically require four or more shots from any weapon to down (Hunting Rifle, Survival bow, and Distress Pistol all roughly equivalent). It is impossible to kill moose without a ranged weapon.

  • A careful shot from long range, then repeated shots as the moose charges, hopefully killing it before it reaches the player.
  • Lit campfires before a moose engagement can shield from an attack. Provoking a moose to charge a lit campfire can provide close-range opportunities to injure it, without the risk of trampling.
  • Distress Pistols are excellent at damaging and scaring moose.
  • Sniper nests in locations inaccessible by the moose, like the rock outcrop near Pensive Pond. This approach requires competent weapon use, as it is likely to be a long-distance shot(s). Moose usually run a short distance away after the first hit, but return moments later allowing for further shots.
  • Moose hunting with a revolver is dangerous due to the weapon's low stopping power and range. (e.g. 8 Headshots, or Chest: 14, Hind: 16, Foot: 16 on Voyageur)

Locations

Moose may spawn rarely in any major region, often spawning and despawning of their own accord. It can be many days before they spawn, back in the same location again.

Tree Bark Marks

Tree Marks on Birch

Tree Trunks with bark scratch marks indicate a possible moose spawn location; typically several marked trees form a rough ring around a possible spawn area.

Ash Canyon

Blackrock Region

Bleak Inlet

Broken Railroad

Coastal Highway

Desolation Point

Forlorn Muskeg

  • Marsh Ridge
  • SE area close to the snow shelter - moose like to roam on the thin ice
  • NW of the rail tunnel to Mystery Lake (rubs present)

Hushed River Valley

Mystery Lake

Mountain Town

Pleasant Valley

Timberwolf Mountain

Gallery

Update history

  • update 10 December 2019 (Update):
    • [Survival] Black screen no longer appears after being trampled by a Moose.
  • hotfix 27 May 2019 (Update):
    • [Survival Mode] Tuned damage dealt to Bears and Moose when using the Revolver.
  • hotfix 8 May 2019 (Update):
    • Tuned Revolver effectiveness when used against Moose (reduced) and reduced critical chance against Bears.
  • hotfix 27 August 2018 (Update):
    • [ALL] Fixed improperly focused camera when Harvesting a Moose.
    • [ALL] Fixed issue where shooting certain trees with Arrows would cause Moose sound effects to play.
  • update 14 June 2018 (Update):
    • [All] Realigned Wolf positioning when it feeds off a Moose carcass.
    • [Survival Mode] Fixed Moose getting stuck in running animation when it dies while running.
    • [Survival Mode] Fixed Moose entering hold position when player is holding a light source.
    • [Survival Mode] Improved Moose pathfinding when under trees.
    • [Survival Mode] Fixed Moose scratch texture on trees appearing stretched.
  • hotfix 20 March 2018 (Update):
    • [Both] Moose sign scratches now appear with the correct color and texture across all Regions.
    • [Survival Mode] Improved camera position and framing of Moose carcass during Harvesting
  • update 7 December 2017 (Update):
    • Added the Moose to all Survival Mode regions.

Trivia

  • Raphael van Lierop initially joked about removing Moose if he wouldn't get good programmers in his vacant positions.[1]
  • Tin of Coffee is branded as "Big Moose Kicks Coffee" with an image of a moose and their tracks.

References

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