Modern Giant! The Largest Moose Ever Caught in Montana

© Tom Tietz/Shutterstock.com

Written by Megan Martin

Updated: August 20, 2023

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Moose are the largest species of cervids, that is, animals that have antlers. However, many people don’t realize just how large these animals can get! In fact, did you know that the largest moose in the world was over 7 feet tall? And that’s just at the shoulders! So while the largest moose in Montana may not be as large as the largest moose ever, which you’ll learn more about below, it’s still a record-holding giant.

Ready to meet the largest moose in Montana? Keep reading below!

Species Profile: Moose

Moose are the largest species in the deer family or of animals with antlers. However, it also happens to be the second tallest mammal in all of North America.

There are four different subspecies of moose dependent on the location in which they are found: Eastern, Western, Alaskan, and Shiras. Alaska moose are the largest species, while the Shiras moose are the smallest subspecies of moose.

Adult moose grow between 5 and 6.5 feet at the shoulders on average. This size doesn’t include their heads or their impressive sets of antlers. They can also weigh up to 1200 pounds.  

Bull Moose

Moose are, surprisingly, excellent swimmers!

©Pierre Leclerc/Shutterstock.com

Where Do Moose Live?

Overall, you can find moose living in all of the forests of northern North America, Europe, and Russia. In North America, they are most commonly seen in Canada. However, the largest moose species, the Alaskan moose, calls the northernmost United States home. There are also a few populations that dip down into the northernmost continental United States in both the Midwest and New England regions. 

Moose are, surprisingly, excellent swimmers. They have a diet rich in aquatic vegetation, and, as a result, they are often not located too far away from water sources.  

What Do Moose Eat?

As mentioned above, moose eat aquatic vegetation. However, this is not the only meal making up their diet. Despite their large, intimidating appearance, moose have no interest in eating humans or any other animals. Instead, they are herbivores, meaning they only eat plants. When they’re not diving for aquatic plants, they are known to eat the leaves and twigs off trees. 

The Largest Moose in Montana

Although there are various subspecies of moose spread across North America, only one species can be found commonly in the state of Montana. Just which species is this? Look no further than the Shiras moose. As you learned above, Shiras moose is the smallest of the four different types of moose. However, the largest moose in Montana definitely earned its claim to fame!

The largest moose in Montana is based on its antler spread rather than its body size. When it comes to cervids like moose and deer, it is common to see individuals measured and ranked in this way, especially when they are hunted for sport. This particular entry can be traced back to C.M. Schmauch, who killed and recorded the largest moose in Beaverhead, Montana, in 1952. This giant sported a set of antlers that scored 195 ⅛. 

The largest moose in Montana is a Shiras moose.

©Tom Tietz/Shutterstock.com

Where Is Montana Located on a Map?

Moose tend to populate Northern states from Maine to Washington, Alaska, and a large portion of Canada. Montana is one state that Moose do inhabit. Not sure where Montana is? Check out the map below.

The Largest Moose in the World

The largest moose ever recorded in the world can be traced back to none other than the Alaskan moose subspecies. This giant of a moose was hunted and killed in the Yukon in September of 1897. 

As you learned above, the average shoulder height for an adult moose is around 6.5 feet. However, for the largest moose in the world, it measured in at a shoulder height of 7.6 feet. That means that, just at the shoulders, this record-breaking moose was taller than André the Giant. 

Not only is the largest moose by size from the Alaskan subspecies, but it is the largest moose by antler size. However, even though this giant has managed to hold the record for being the largest moose in the world for over a century, ancient moose were larger than even the largest Alaskan moose. 

Suppose we were to track the fossil record and the information we’ve been able to unearth so far. In that case, we can trace the moose’s lineage back to around 2 million years ago when a moose species known as Libracles gallicus roamed a savanna-like environment. This giant ancient moose was known to be around twice the size of the Alaska moose. While we’re not exactly sure of their shoulder height, we do know that their antlers could have been as long as 8 feet across. 


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About the Author

Megan is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is birds, felines, and sharks. She has been researching and writing about animals for four years, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with minors in biology and professional and technical writing from Wingate University, which she earned in 2022. A resident of North Carolina, Megan is an avid birdwatcher that enjoys spending time with her cats and exploring local zoological parks with her husband.

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