Adult moose are 6 feet tall from the ground to their shoulders, making them the tallest animal in North America and the world’s largest live deer species. In North America, there are 4 different types of moose (Alces alces). The number of moose in the US is thought to be between 275,000 and 315,000, and the number in Canada is thought to be between 500,000 and 1 million, based on the source.
Large groups of moose live in 19 states in the United States. Some moose have been seen in places other than their natural area, though, because they have traveled long distances to find food. Scroll down to learn more about the moose number in the United States. We’ll talk about the species’ expected ranges and populations by state, as well as the parts of these states where they are most often seen.
POPULATION OF MOOSE IN FIFTY STATES OF THE U.S.
Here is information about how many moose live in each U.S. state. Find out about the amount of moose that live in each state, where you can find them, and other interesting facts about them.
While we’re talking about the states with moose numbers, let’s first leave out the ones that don’t have any. Due to long journey distances and changing temperatures, sightings may happen in the states below that aren’t on this list. At the moment, though, the largest moose populations are only in 19 of the 50 U.S. states.
These are the 31 states that don’t have any moose:
- Alabama – Alabama does not have any moose.
- Arizona: There aren’t any established populations, but there have been accounts of sightings in the Grand Canyon.
- Arkansas: The state of Arkansas does not have any moose.
- California – The state of California does not have any moose.
- Ohio—The state of Ohio does not have any moose.
- Florida—Florida does not have any moose.
- Georgia – The state of Georgia does not have any moose.
- Hawaii – The state of Hawaii does not have any moose.
- Illinois: There are no longer any established people in Illinois.
- Indiana: There are no longer any established groups; the last one was seen in 2010.
- Iowa: No settled population, but they have been seen there from time to time in recent years.
- Kansas: No settled population, but they have been seen there from time to time in recent years.
- Kentucky: There are no longer any established people in Kentucky.
- Louisiana: No moose are known to live in the state of Louisiana.
- Maryland: The state of Maryland does not have any moose.
- Mississippi – The state of Mississippi does not have any moose.
- Missouri: There isn’t a permanent population there, but they are seen from time to time.
- Nebraska: There isn’t a permanent population there, but they are seen from time to time.
- New Jersey—There isn’t a permanent population, but there have been reports here and there in recent years.
- New Mexico: There isn’t a permanent population there, but they are sometimes seen in the north.
- North Carolina: No moose are known to live in the state of North Carolina.
- Ohio — There are no longer any established groups in Ohio
- Oklahoma: There isn’t a permanent population there, but they are seen from time to time.
- Pennsylvania: There isn’t a permanent population there, but one has been seen in the Delaware Water Gap.
- Rhode Island: There isn’t a permanent population there, but they are sometimes seen in northwest Rhode Island.
- South Carolina: The state of South Carolina does not have any settled populations or clear sightings.
- South Dakota: No permanent population, but they have been seen there from time to time in recent years.
Tennessee: No moose are known to live in the state of Tennessee.
- Texas: No permanent residents, with only a few coming back in 2008.
- Virginia: There isn’t a permanent population, but people have seen them a few times in the last few years in northern Virginia.
- West Virginia: No moose are known to live in the state of West Virginia.
IN 19 U.S. STATES, MOOSE POPULATION
The following population estimates were obtained from websites of state governments and other credible sources. They are, to the best of my knowledge, accurate.
|State Name||Estimated Moose Population|
|Alaska||175,000 – 200,000|
|Arizona||very rare sightings|
|Connecticut||just over 100|
|Idaho||10,000 – 12,000|
|Indiana||very rare sightings|
|Iowa||low / rare sightings|
|Kansas||low / rare sightings|
|Maine||60,000 – 70,000|
|Massachusetts||1,000 – 1,500|
|Missouri||low / rare sightings|
|Montana||2,334 – 4,675|
|Nebraska||low / rare sightings|
|Nevada||40 – 500|
|New Jersey||low / rare sightings|
|New Mexico||low / rare sightings|
|New York||600 – 700|
|North Dakota||500 minimum|
|Oklahoma||low / rare sightings|
|Pennsylvania||very rare sightings|
|Rhode Island||low / rare sightings|
|South Dakota||low / rare sightings|
|Texas||very rare sightings|
|Utah||2,500 – 3,000|
|Virginia||low / rare sightings|
|Wisconsin||20 – 40|
Alaska has the largest moose population of any U.S. state, with an estimated 175,000 to 200,000 moose dispersed throughout the state. Alaska is home to approximately two-thirds of the moose population in the United States. They are abundant on plateaus above the treeline and along the main rivers of Interior and Southcentral Alaska. Moose are also newcomers to certain Southeast Alaska regions, such as the Stikine River. This page contains a range map for moose in Alaska.
In 1978, wildlife managers transplanted 12 moose into the North Park region of Colorado, where previously only a few moose had wandered in from outside the state. Currently, there are nearly 3,000 moose throughout the entire province. You can locate them in riparian areas, sagebrush, and high in the mountains above the treeline.
The state of Connecticut
The moose population in Connecticut was recently established due to the expansion of the moose population in neighboring Massachusetts. Beginning in 2000, there were approximately sixty moose sightings annually by 2007. Current estimates place the population at just over 100 individuals. Most of the communities where moose sightings have been reported are on the border of Connecticut and Massachusetts. Here is an interactive map of moose sightings in Connecticut.
The moose population in Idaho is estimated to be between 10,000 and 12,000, ranging from the heavily wooded forests of the north to the Snake River Plain in the south. While some populations in Northern Idaho are declining, the moose population is expanding into the state’s south-central regions. To hunt moose in Idaho, a controlled hunt permit must be obtained.
Maine has the greatest moose population in the lower 48 states and the second-largest in the United States. The population is estimated to be between 60,000 and 70,000 animals, a significant increase from the early 1900s, when there were only 2,000 animals. The state’s current moose management objective is to maintain a robust population while allowing for hunting and viewing. There are approximately 50,000 applications for the 2,000 to 3,000 moose hunting permits that Maine typically issues.
According to the New England Research Institute, Massachusetts is home to between 1,000 and 1,500 moose. The population is most dense in the Central and Western regions of Massachusetts, with occasional sightings in the Eastern region. During the summer months, you can typically spot caribou feeding on sodium-rich aquatic vegetation in the wetlands.
Moose are a native species of Michigan, but their population has declined substantially since European settlement. Today, the population of the Lower Peninsula has vanished, leaving only the Upper Peninsula inhabited. In 2019, the most recent biennial survey estimated that there were 509 moose in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A rise from the 323 animals documented in 2015.
The preponderance of Minnesota’s moose population resides in the northeastern regions. The aerial survey conducted by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in 2022 revealed a population of 4,700 moose. Although this is nearly a fifty percent decrease from the 2006 population zenith, it is a significant increase since the decline in 2013, and the moose population has reportedly remained stable in recent years. The DNR 2022 Aerial Moose Survey and a map of the survey sites are available here.
Moose inhabit the majority of Western Montana’s forested landscapes, from the Cabinet Mountains in the northwest to the Centennial and Big Hole basins in the southwest. However, they also inhabit wetlands in the East, particularly along the Missouri River. Since 2013, a study conducted by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (MFWP) revealed that the average number of moose sightings per year in the state ranged from 2,334 to 4,675. Here you can discover maps of the range and distribution of species in Montana.
The only moose species found in Nevada is the Shiras Moose, also known as the Yellowstone Moose, which is the tiniest subspecies of North American moose. They are new to Nevada, but they have adapted well despite the state’s less conventional habitat. According to Go Hunt, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) recently calculated that the state is home to between forty and fifty moose. The NDOW confirmed nearly 500 moose sightings earlier in 2022, although some of these sightings may have been of the same animal.
There are an estimated 3,300 moose in the state of New Hampshire. They are found in each of the ten counties, with the greatest abundance north of the White Mountains and in the Great North Woods. Here you will find a map and data on the moose population in the main regions of New Hampshire.
The majority of New York’s moose population resides in the Adirondack Mountains and Taconic Highlands in the state’s northeastern region. Nonetheless, they are occasionally spotted in the eastern counties of Washington, Rensselaer, and Columbia. In the 1860s, the moose population in New York disappeared, but by the 1980s, it had firmly reestablished itself. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) currently estimates that there are between 600 and 700 moose in the Adirondacks.
The Northwestern regions of North Dakota have the greatest moose population densities, with a gradual increase in the western portion of the state. They favor prairie habitats with tree rows and forested river bottoms, and they are not particularly common in the Upper Missouri River region. Although the precise number of moose in North Dakota is not reported, the number of hunting licenses issued annually provides insight into the health of the population. In recent years, approximately 400 moose hunting licenses have been issued annually. We can therefore conclude that the population consists of at least 500 animals. Between 2016 and 2020, the number of hunting licenses issued increased by 92%. However, 70 fewer licenses were issued for the 2021 season due to population shifts in the Northwestern regions.
Although moose are scarce in Oregon, a population has established itself north of Elgin in the Blue Mountains region. It is believed that they first crossed the Palouse Prairie from Washington or Idaho into Oregon. The current population estimate for Oregon is 50 adults and calves. Typically, the herd is dispersed throughout portions of the Wallowa-Whitman and Umatilla national forests.
Populations of moose in Utah are densest along the Wasatch Front, in the northeastern and northern regions, and in the far north. In the territory, there are between 2,500 and 3,000 moose. They represent one of the continent’s largest and southernmost naturally occurring moose populations.
In recent years, Vermont’s moose population has remained relatively stable at around 3,000 individuals. They are most prevalent along the ridgeline of the Green Mountains and in northeastern regions, including the counties of Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia. In 2021, the state granted 100 hunting permits through a lottery, an increase of 45 permits from 2020.
As of 2015, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) estimates the state’s moose population at 5,000 individuals. The Selkirk Mountains are their primary habitat, with lesser populations in the Okanagan, North Cascades, and Blue Mountains. Moose have been spotted in other regions of the state, such as the Columbia Basin’s high desert country, despite their preference for forests.
The moose population in Wisconsin is small and unofficially estimated, but that does not mean sightings are impossible. There are approximately 20 to 40 individuals in the state, with intermittent sightings of moose from Michigan or Minnesota. During white-tailed deer hunting season, hunters in the state are cautioned not to shoot moose by accident.
Moose reside in various river bottom areas and mountain ranges of Wyoming, with the greatest numbers in the Bridger-Teton National Forest region to the south of Jackson. According to Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) officials, there are just under 3,500 moose in Wyoming. The population has been declining since the mid-1990s, when it peaked at 10,000 individuals. The increase in wolves and the expansion of grizzly bear ranges are hypothesized to have contributed to the population decline.
A SHORT VIEW OF MOOSE
Moose are large, majestic land mammals, with males growing up to 6 feet of magnificent antlers. They can run up to 37 miles per hour and swim up to 12.4 miles at a speed of at least 6 miles per hour. Wolves and bears are the two largest natural predators of the moose population, alongside human hunters. However, most states regulate hunting licenses to safeguard moose population health.
Moose are one of the largest land mammals in North America and the largest member of the deer family. The Alaskan moose is the largest subspecies, standing up to 6 feet tall and weighting up to 1,600 pounds. Shiras mooses are the youngest subspecies of moose. However, some people can reach 6 feet in height and 1,200 pounds in weight.
Moose are herbivores, consuming primarily tree and shrub foliage, branches, and bark. Native willow, balsam fir, and aspen are some of their preferred trees to eat. Additionally, moose consume aquatic vegetation, sedges, wetland weeds, and grasses. They can consume aquatic vegetation both above and below water.
Moose prefer forested habitats and commonly inhabit boreal, temperate broadleaf, and mixed forests. If there is a forest nearby, they can also be found near wetlands, rivers, lakes, marshes, and open country in mountains and lowlands.
The mating season for moose occurs between late September and mid-October. Bulls (adult males) will move to lower elevations to locate cows (females) during the rutting season. In competition for a companion, the bulls frequently fight and spar with one another.
Winter is not hibernation season for moose. They are well-adapted to endure in icy environments. Among land mammals, moose have one of the most insulating hair coats and thickest hides, which they lose every spring. They can also withstand snow depths of up to 36 inches and seek for food in the snow using their hooves.
Moose inhabit the northern regions of the United States, from Maine to Washington and up to Alaska. However, populations exist in southern states such as Utah and Nevada. Others can migrate up to 100 miles between seasonal ranges, and more moose sightings have been recorded in states without a resident population.
IF YOU COME ACROSS A MOOSE
Although moose will typically escape when they feel threatened, they can become aggressive under certain conditions. People can be injured when a moose charges, tramples, or kicks to defend itself or its young. Additionally, bulls are typically at their most belligerent during the rut, or mating season.
If you encounter a moose in the field, avoid approaching it and observe its behavior closely. A moose walking slowly towards you could be ready to attack, particularly if its hump hairs are raised, it is licking its lips, grunting, stomping its feet, or its ears are laid back.
Here are some quick suggestions for encounters with moose:
- Maintain your composure; do not yell, hurl objects, or offer food, as they can still attack after taking food from your hand.
- Back away from the moose, allowing it at least 50 feet of personal space and an escape route.
- If they begin to charge, flee and take cover behind a sturdy object such as a tree, large boulder, vehicle, or fence.
- If you are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your forearms covering your head and neck.
- After an assault, pretend to be dead and remain still until the moose has left the area, or they may attack again.
In North America, there are four subspecies of Moose, which are as follows:
In North America, there are 4 different types of moose. They are:
- Moose in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States
- The western moose lives in British Columbia, western Ontario, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, northern Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.
- Alaska moose live in Alaska and the western Yukon.
- Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Montana are home to Shiras moose.