Discover The Largest Moose Ever Caught In Idaho

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Updated: April 23, 2023
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Idaho, a mountainous state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, offers diverse opportunities for hunters. The state is home to a wide variety of animals, including big trophy game like moose

Standing tall at six feet and weighing up to 1400 pounds, some might consider their hunting careers incomplete without capturing a moose once in their lifetime. 

Those lucky enough to draw hunting tags are massively rewarded by the sheer abundance of quality meat and the imposing moose antlers, which are scored and valued highly within the hunting community. 

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Moose are the biggest species of the deer family, and in this article, you will discover the largest one ever caught in Idaho. Let’s go!

Moose In Northern America

bull moose

Moose antlers span an impressive six feet from end to end.

©Harry Collins Photography/Shutterstock.com

Four moose sub-species inhabit northern North America, including most of Canada

The eastern moose occupies eastern Canada and northeastern America; the northwestern moose hails from central Canada, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Northern Michigan; the Shiras moose is prevalent in the Rocky Mountains of Canada and America; and finally, the Alaskan moose lives in Alaska and northwestern Canada. 

You’ll find Shira moose in Idaho’s rocky northern regions, located in the state’s forests and along its lakes, browsing for food.  

If you’re looking for moose on a hunting expedition to Idaho, these essential facts will help you. 

1. Moose Are Part Of The Cervidae Family 

Belonging to the deer family, moose are towering creatures with striking features. 

Like other species of deer, moose are ungulate mammals, meaning they possess hooves. They’re also herbivores that rely on a diverse diet. 

2. They Thrive In Colder Climates

With their super-insulated fur, moose can withstand cold and freezing temperatures. Conversely, they’re not built for summer and are less active during warmer seasons. 

3. Moose Are Infamously Hard To Find 

Despite their large and unmissable frame, moose can vanish into thicket timber and brush. Moose won’t need to leave their place of safety for days on end because their hiding spots often couple as a resource for food. 

4. They’re Highly Versatile Creatures

Because of their stature, you might expect moose to forage for food in the highest places. And you’re partially correct; vegetation from willows and other trees forms the bulk of their diet. But they’re also highly flexible and will adapt to their environment. As excellent swimmers, adults and their young will feed off aquatic vegetation in lakes and rivers. They can also hold their breath for several seconds while gathering food. In the winter, they’ll scrape off snow with their feet to browse for moss and lichen at ground level. 

5. Moose Are Bold And Defensive 

Moose will readily defend themselves against predators like wolves and black bears. They’ll charge at these and other animals to protect the vulnerable and young, dealing fatal kicks with their strong legs.

Due to their sheer strength and immense size, moose are dangerous to humans because they can kill us. A moose moving at full speed is unstoppable, impervious to being shot at.

Defining Characteristics And Features Of Moose

Moose Size Comparison - Moose in Field

Moose bulls possess brilliant black fur, while the cow’s fur is a distinct brown.

©Michael Liggett/Shutterstock.com

One of the most distinguishing features of a bull is its colossal pair of antlers, which span an impressive six feet from end to end. You can recognize a cow by the absence of antlers. 

Their other defining features are long faces and muzzles that sway directly below their faces. Not just for appearance, these muzzles are helpful to moose when locating food. Both males and females have bell sways – dangling skin flags with no discernable purpose. 

Moose bulls possess brilliant black fur, while the cow’s fur is a distinct brown. Their long, powerful legs are built for walking and trotting vast distances, allowing them to outmaneuver most predators pursuing them effortlessly. Their front and hind legs are powerful enough to injure or kill their opponents. 

Both male and female moose are huge and heavy, which is something to consider if you want to take one down. The weight of the average moose is roughly 1400 pounds, although they can grow even bigger.

What Is The Largest Moose Ever Caught In Idaho?

Reed T. Fisher from Elk City caught the largest moose in 1957. The trophy catch scored a whopping 199 ⅜ inches, with the spread of its antlers measuring 62 ⅜ inches from tip-to-tip.

In second place, Richard K. Smith from Bingham County captured a 193 0/8 inch moose in 2000. The spread of its antlers was calculated at 51 0/8 inches. 

Hunting Opportunities For Moose 

Classified as a “once-in-a-lifetime” trophy species, hunters must have a controlled hunt tag to catch moose. This tag permits you to harvest a cow and bull apiece. 

These are becoming increasingly hard to obtain because the moose population in parts of Idaho isn’t stable. There are roughly 10,000 to 12,000 moose in Idaho, with numbers declining in some areas and expanding in others. 

In 2022, 546 permits were issued to hunters in Idaho. 

Threats To Moose Survival

Moose populations have declined in parts of the country like Idaho since the 1990s, and concerns have escalated since the early 2000s.

Although the reasons for this decline aren’t known, the below could explain it. 

1. Low Calf Survival 

Adult cows have an 89% survival rate, so it’s unlikely that adult moose mortality contributes to the decrease. 

However, a lower survival rate among young moose could be one cause of a declining population. From being prey to myriad predators or dying from particular diseases, calves that don’t survive to adulthood affect moose numbers at large. 

2. Disease and Injury

Besides being killed by predators, adults’ leading causes of death have been linked to parasitic diseases and vehicular collisions, which might play a role in shrinking moose numbers. 

Climate change could also affect the higher prevalence of disease and moose deaths. Moose, vulnerable to heat, could suffer heat stress or struggle with heat-induced illnesses. 

Where Is Idaho Located On A Map?

Idaho is located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is bordered by Washington and Oregon to the west, Montana and Wyoming to the east, Utah and Nevada to the south, and the Canadian Province of British Columbia to the north. Bingham Country is located in the southeast region of the state and the largest city is Blackfoot.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © David Osborn/Shutterstock.com


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