HUNTING's Moose Forecast for 2014

bgf_moose_f2014 Outlook

Moose hunters in some areas can be happy; success rates and tag availability are quite high. Maine, for example, will sell 4,085 moose permits for the 2014 season, down only by 25 from last year, but well above the long-term average. The overall success rate was 72 percent, and the statewide population is estimated at up to 70,000, the highest number in the Lower 48. Drawing a tag, however, is the hard part. More than 55,000 people applied for a moose permit last season.

It's a lot easier to get a tag in Alaska. With a population of 200,000 moose, it's no wonder Alaska remains North America's premier destination. Populations are increasing in some areas of the state and falling in others, thanks in part to severe winters and predation, mostly by wolves.

Now the not-so-good news: Moose populations are falling in some states and Canadian provinces. Numbers appear to be growing in Saskatchewan and somewhat steady in Yukon, which has an estimated 70,000. British Columbia and Ontario, however, are reporting declines. Tag allocations are down as a result in BC, which has seen a decline of up to 70 percent in some regions. The Dryden and Thunder Bay areas will see an 88 percent decrease in tag allocations.


moose_arrowMinnesota halted all moose hunting indefinitely in 2013 due to plummeting numbers. The animals are subject to an in-depth study to determine why the state's moose population has fallen 52 percent just since 2010. New Hampshire also has seen a 40 percent decline in some regions over the past three years. Vermont's moose population has also fallen.


Moose in the Rocky Mountain states are stabilizing in some regions after falling dramatically in the 2000s, but they continue to decline in others. Wyoming Game & Fish spokesman Al Langston says his state's moose decline is linked to a number of factors, including predation by bears and several dry years.


"Drought really impacts moose habitat," says Langston, "and we've had some dry years."

Tag allocations may be down in Wyoming, but those who draw are likely to kill a bull, adds Langston. He says the Bighorn, Medicine Bow, and Bridger-Teton national forests all offer good hunting. Success rates are also high in other Western states, including Montana and Idaho, which offer once-in-a-lifetime tags and a stable moose population, says Idaho Fish and Game spokesman Toby Boudreau. Good bulls are taken from the Panhandle region south to the Utah border, but the heaviest concentrations tend to be in the northern part of the state. Utah also has a moose hunt, and populations have stabilized after falling in recent years, thanks in part to a string of severe winters and an outbreak of winter ticks.

Only Colorado has seen a population increase recently, although the state is at the southern range of moose and only about 2,300 animals inhabit Colorado. Still, Colorado Parks and Wildlife plans on selling a few more licenses this year, notably in units 1, 201, 15, and 27. With few exceptions, that's about the only good news coming from moose country.


1. Alaska

Alaska remains the best destination. It has the highest moose population of any state, and tags are generally available over the counter. Bob Condon, of Soldotna, Alaska, killed a bull moose with a 73-inch spread and 10-inch bases in 2013, reportedly the second biggest ever taken.

3. Yukon

OK, so this isn't a state. But how can we leave out the Yukon? Although the territory is experiencing overall population declines, success can be found in the right area. Yukon resident Heinz Naef killed the new World Record Alaska-Yukon subspecies last September. It scored 263 5/8.

2. Washington

Let's face it: Moose tags are tough to draw'Šanywhere. Washington might just be the best place to get it done in the Lower 48. That is, if you skip their draw and buy a lottery tag.

Recommended for You

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results. Clothing

Field Tested: Cold-Weather Boots

Kali Parmley - April 22, 2019

We put the best boots for late-season hunting to the test. Here are the results.

Hunting in Quebec offers plenty of quality outfitters, affordable hunting options, great fishing and plenty of bears. North America

Bear Hunting Makes Quebec the Ultimate Springtime Destination

Lynn Burkhead - February 01, 2019

Hunting in Quebec offers plenty of quality outfitters, affordable hunting options, great...

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention SHOT Show

HUNTING's Booth Babes of SHOT Show 2014

David Draper - January 21, 2014

A record crowd of more than 67,000 people fell upon the halls of the Sands Expo & Convention

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Cheeseburger Poppers

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 13: Forest Buffalo

Craig Boddington returns to Mozambique's fame Coutada 10 for a shot a forest buffalo that's eluded him for 10 years.

2018 Petersen

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 12: High Plains Elk

David Draper teams up with Fred Eichler to hunt elk on the high plains of southern Colorado.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Are predators really to blame for declining deer numbers? The answer might surprise you. Conservation

Do Coyotes Really Affect the Whitetail Herd?

Jeff Johnston

Are predators really to blame for declining deer numbers? The answer might surprise you.

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are created equal. Recipes

How to Properly Grill Venison Steak

Hank Shaw

Perfection takes practice, a little skill and the understanding that not all steaks are...

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in North America

Best Units for Hunting Western Mule Deer

Josh Dahlke

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in

See More Stories

More Other Game

Kevin Steele combs through the Puerto Rican jungle trying to eradicate an overgrowth of green Other Game

Managing Green Iguanas

PHTV Adventures - June 26, 2015

Kevin Steele combs through the Puerto Rican jungle trying to eradicate an overgrowth of green

 California's wild pigs are among the most difficult in the world to hunt. Glassing, Other Game

The Ultimate Wild Boar Hunting in California

Joseph von Benedikt - July 11, 2018

California's wild pigs are among the most difficult in the world to hunt. Glassing,

Kevin Steele and Tony Miele arrive in Texas to hunt with James Jeffrey of Lost Horizon Outfitters Other Game

Pre-Christmas Handgun Fallow Deer Hunt

PHTV Adventures - June 27, 2017

Kevin Steele and Tony Miele arrive in Texas to hunt with James Jeffrey of Lost Horizon...

See More Other Game

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.