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Moose Population by State (Current Estimates)

Moose are the largest living deer species worldwide and the tallest mammal in North America, with adults standing 6 feet tall from the ground to shoulder. There are 4 subspecies of moose (Alces alces) in North America. The estimated total moose population in the United States is about 275,000 – 315,000 and in Canada, the estimate is between 500,000 and 1 million moose, depending on the source.

Moose populations span across 19 U.S. states. However, instances of long-distance migration when searching for food has led to some moose showing up outside their natural range. Find out more information about the moose population in the United States below. We’ll dive into information on the estimated populations and ranges by state, including what parts of these states they are more commonly seen.

Moose Population in 50 U.S. States

Below is information about the moose population in each U.S. state. Find out information about the population estimates, where they can be found, and interesting facts about moose specific to the particular state.

Before diving into the states with moose populations, let’s first omit states without an established population of these large deer species. There may be sightings in these omitted states listed below due to long-distance travel and changing temperatures. However, currently, the main moose populations are only in 19 of the 50 U.S. states.

31 states that do not have Moose populations:

  1. Alabama – There are no moose in the state of Alabama
  2. Arizona – No established populations, some reports of sightings in the Grand Canyon
  3. Arkansas – There are no moose in the state of Arkansas
  4. California – There are no moose in the state of California
  5. Delaware – There are no moose in the state of Delaware
  6. Florida – There are no moose in the state of Florida
  7. Georgia – There are no moose in the state of Georgia
  8. Hawaii – There are no moose in the state of Hawaii
  9. Illinois – No more established populations in Illinois
  10. Indiana – No more established populations, with the last sighting in 2010
  11. Iowa – No established population, but occasional sightings in recent years
  12. Kansas – No established population, but occasional sightings in recent years
  13. Kentucky – No more established populations in Kentucky
  14. Louisiana – There is no known moose population in the state of Louisiana
  15. Maryland – There are no moose in the state of Maryland
  16. Mississippi – There are no moose in the state of Mississippi
  17. Missouri – No established population, but there are occasional sightings
  18. Nebraska – No established population, but there are occasional sightings
  19. New Jersey – No established population, but occasional sightings in recent years
  20. New Mexico – No established population, but there are occasional sightings in the North
  21. North Carolina – There is no known moose population in the state of North Carolina
  22. Ohio – No more established populations in Ohio
  23. Oklahoma – No established population, but there are occasional sightings
  24. Pennsylvania – No established population, with one rare sighting in the Delaware Water Gap
  25. Rhode Island – No established population, but there are occasional sightings in northwest Rhode Island
  26. South Carolina – No established populations or confirmed sightings in the state of South Carolina
  27. South Dakota – No established population, but occasional sightings in recent years
  28. Tennessee – There is no known moose population in the state of Tennessee
  29. Texas – No established population, with a rare righting in 2008
  30. Virginia – No established population, but occasional sightings in recent years in northern Virginia
  31. West Virginia – There is no known moose population in the state of West Virginia

Moose population in 19 U.S. states

close up of bull moose head as it reaches up to eat leaves off a shrub
Moose eating vegetation | image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr

The following population estimates were taken from state government websites and other authoritative sources. They are accurate to the best of our knowledge.

State NameEstimated Moose Population
Alaska175,000 - 200,000
Arizonavery rare sightings
Connecticutjust over 100
Idaho10,000 - 12,000
Indianavery rare sightings
Iowalow / rare sightings
Kansaslow / rare sightings
Maine60,000 - 70,000
Massachusetts1,000 - 1,500
Missourilow / rare sightings
Montana2,334 - 4,675
Nebraskalow / rare sightings
New Hampshire3,000 - 4,000
New Jerseylow / rare sightings
New Mexicolow / rare sightings
New York550 - 900
North Carolinanone
North Dakota>300
Oklahomalow / rare sightings
Pennsylvaniavery rare sightings
Rhode Islandlow / rare sightings
South Carolinanone
South Dakotalow / rare sightings
Texasvery rare sightings
Utah2,500 - 3,000
Virginialow / rare sightings
West Virginianone
Wisconsin20 - 40
*Populations estimates are believed to be accurate but not guaranteed as of 03/2024

1. Alaska

Alaska has a larger population of moose than any other U.S state, with an estimated 175,000 to 200,000 moose widely distributed throughout the state. In fact, you can find around two-thirds of the U.S. moose population in Alaska. They are abundant in timberline plateaus and along the major rivers of Interior and Southcentral Alaska. Moose are also recent arrivals to limited areas in Southeast Alaska, such as the Stikine River. See a range map for moose in Alaska here.

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2. Colorado

Although Colorado used to only see a few stray moose wander into the state, in 1978, wildlife managers arranged for the first transplant of 12 moose in Colorado’s North Park region. Today the population is thriving, with almost 3,000 moose statewide and with the population stable, moose hunting is now permitted in the state. You can find them in riparian areas, in sagebrush, and above timberline high in the mountains.

3. Connecticut

Connecticut’s moose population is a recent establishment due to the expansion of the growing moose population from neighboring Massachusetts. Sightings started in 2000 and by 2007, there were around 60 moose sightings annually. Currently, the population is estimated to be just over 100 animals. Most of the towns where hunters reported moose sightings are along the Connecticut-Massachusetts border. An interactive map of moose sightings in Connecticut can be found here.

4. Idaho

Idaho has an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 moose population, ranging from the North’s heavily timbered forests to the Snake River Plain in the South. While some populations are declining in Northern Idaho, the moose population is expanding its range into the south-central regions of the state. One of the key factors driving population declines in parts of the state is the spread of parasites. To hunt moose in Idaho, you must apply for a controlled hunt tag.

5. Maine

Maine has the second-largest moose population in the U.S and the highest in the lower 48 states. The population is estimated at 60,000 to 70,000 animals, a significant increase from the 2,000 animals in the early 1900s. The state currently has a moose management goal to maintain a healthy population while providing hunting and viewing opportunities. Unfortunately, moose in Maine are heavily impacted by diseases spread by ticks, with many moose calves not making it through their first year. Hunting moose in Maine is popular, with around 50,000 applications for the 2,000 to 3,000 moose permits the state typically issues.

6. Massachusetts

According to the New England Research Institute, there are around 1,000 to 1,500 moose in Massachusetts. The population is most abundant in the Central and Western regions, with occasional sightings in Eastern Massachusetts. During the summer months, you can typically see moose in wetlands, where they feast on sodium-rich aquatic vegetation.

7. Michigan

Moose are a native species in Michigan, however, their numbers have significantly declined since European settlement. Today the population has disappeared from the Lower Peninsula regions and remains only in the Upper Peninsula. The most recent survey in 2023 estimated a moose population in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan as 426 animals, which is a slight decrease from the 509 counted in 2019. 

8. Minnesota

A majority of the moose population in Minnesota is in the Northeastern regions. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 2024 aerial moose survey recorded a population of 3,470. Although this is less than half of the moose estimated during the population peak in 2006, it’s a significant increase since the decline in 2013, and the moose population is reported to have remained stable in recent years. You can read the DNR 2022 Aerial Moose Survey and see a map of the survey plots here.

9. Montana

Moose occupy most of the forested landscapes in Western Montana, ranging from the Cabinet Mountains in the Northwest to the Centennial and Big Hole valleys in the Southwest. However, they also inhabit wetlands in the East, especially along the Missouri River. A study on Moose conducted by the Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks (MFWP) reported average moose sightings in the state ranging from 2,334 to 4,675 per year since 2013. You can find species range and distribution maps in Montana here.

10. Nevada

The only moose species you can find in Nevada is the Shiras Moose, also known as the Yellowstone Moose, and the smallest of the North American moose subspecies. They are new residents of Nevada and have adapted well despite the state being a less traditional habitat. The Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) recently estimated around 107 moose living in the state, which is an increase from recent years.

11. New Hampshire

An estimated 3,000 – 4,000 moose are living in New Hampshire statewide. They occur in all ten counties, with the most abundant living north of the White Mountains and in the Great North Woods. A map and data of the moose density within major regions of New Hampshire can be found here.

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12. New York

Most of the moose population in New York is in the northeastern region in the Adirondack Mountains and the Taconic Highlands. However, they can occasionally be seen in the eastern Washington, Rensselaer, and Columbia counties. The moose population in New York disappeared in the 1860s but became firmly established again in the 1980s. Today, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), estimates around 550-900 moose in the Adirondack Region. The moose population in New York has remained relatively stable and is much smaller than other northeastern states and scientists aren’t sure as to why the population isn’t growing.

13. North Dakota

The highest moose population densities in North Dakota are in the Northwestern regions, with a gradual increase in the population in the western part of the state. They prefer prairie habitats with tree rows and forested river bottoms and are not most abundant in the Upper Missouri River area. While the exact population number of moose in North Dakota isn’t reported, the number of hunting licenses issued each year provides insight into the population’s health. North Dakota has seen a decrease in the number of moose hunting licenses each year, and in 2023 there were only 257 licenses released which is a steep decline from the 404 licenses released in previous years.

14. Oregon

Although moose aren’t abundant in Oregon, there is a population that established themselves in the Blue Mountains region, north of Elgin. It is believed they first wandered to Oregon from Washington or Idaho across the Palouse Prairie. The current Oregon population is estimated at 50 adults and calves. The herd is typically scattered across parts of the Wallowa-Whitman and Umatilla national forests. Moose hunting is not permitted in Oregon and likely will not be unless the state begins to see a large increase in the population.

15. Utah

Typically found in forested areas, moose populations in Utah are most abundant along the Wasatch Front and in the Northeastern and Northern regions. The state drafted a moose management plan in 2017 with the intention to review and revise the plan in 2027. The most recent estimate puts the population at 2,500 to 3,000 moose. They represent one of the largest, southernmost naturally occurring moose populations on the continent.

16. Vermont

The moose population in Vermont has remained relatively stable in recent years at approximately 2,100 animals. They are most abundant along the spine of the Green Mountains as well as in the Northeast regions, including Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia counties. In 2023, the state issued 180 hunting permits, which has been an increase from previous years. The state has been trying to manage the population with the help from hunters after the population reached an all time high of over 5,500 moose.

17. Washington

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the estimated moose population in the state is 5,000 animals as of 2015. The state is making plans to conduct research that will help them to monitor the population more closely. You can find them mostly in the Selkirk Mountains, with smaller populations in the Okanogan, North Cascades, and the Blue Mountains. Although moose prefer forested areas, they have been seen wandering to other parts of the state, such as the Columbia Basin’s high desert country.

18. Wisconsin

The moose population in Wisconsin is low and not officially established, but it doesn’t mean that sightings are nonexistent. There are around 20 to 40 individuals in the state and occasional moose sightings of individuals wandering over from Michigan or Minnesota. Hunters in the state are cautioned not to accidentally shoot moose during the white-tailed deer hunting season.

19. Wyoming

Moose live 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, the moose population in Wyoming is approximately 3,000. The population has been decreasing since the high of 10,000 animals in the mid-1990s. Moose populations are thought to be decreasing due to drought and other climatic conditions, tick-borne illnesses, and potentially increasing populations of predators. 

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A quick look at moose

two bull moose with full antlers standing next to each other in a sagebrush field
Two male “Shiras” moose in Grand Teton | image by Grand Teton NP via Flickr

Moose are large majestic land mammals, with bulls growing stunning antlers of up to 6 feet long. They can run up to 37 mph and are also excellent swimmers, swimming up to 12.4 miles with a speed of at least 6 mph. Besides human hunters, wolves and bears are the two biggest natural predators for moose populations. However, most states regulate hunting licenses to help protect the health of moose populations.


Moose are one of North America’s largest land mammals and the deer family’s largest members. The largest subspecies is the Alaskan moose growing up to nearly 7 feet tall (from hoof to shoulder) and weighing 1,600 pounds. The smallest subspecies is the Shiras moose. However, even some individuals can reach 6 feet tall and weigh 1,200 pounds.


Moose are herbivores, eating mostly leaves, twigs, and bark from trees and shrubs. Some of their favorite trees to eat are the native willow, balsam fir, and aspen trees. Moose will also eat aquatic plants, sedges, pond weeds, and grasses. They can forage for aquatic plants both on and under the water.


Moose prefer habitats that are forested areas and typically live in boreal, temperate broadleaf, and mixed forests. You can also find them near wetlands, rivers, lakes, swamps, and open country in mountains and lowlands if there is a forest nearby.


adult female moose and moose calf walking in a river
Female moose leading her calf across a river | image by USFWS Mountain Prairie via Flickr

The mating season for moose is during the fall from late September to mid-October. Also known as the rutting season, bulls (adult males) will move towards lower elevations to find cows (females). The bulls frequently fight and spar using their antlers in competition for a mate.

Winter habits

Moose, like other deer species, do not hibernate in the winter. They are well adapted to survive in wintery climates. Moose have one of the most insulating hair coats and thickest hides among land mammals that they shed every spring. They can also handle snow depths of over 36 inches and use their hooves to search for food in the snow.


Moose are typically found in the northern regions of the U.S., from Maine to Washington and up into Alaska. However, there are populations in more southern states like Utah and Nevada. While some populations stay year-round within a range, others can migrate up to 100 miles between seasonal ranges, and more moose sightings are reported in states without an established population.

Subspecies of moose

There 4 subspecies of Moose in North America, they are as follows:

  1. Eastern moose (Alces alces americana): Eastern Canada, Northeastern U.S
  2. Western moose (Alces alces andersoni): British Columbia to western Ontario, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota
  3. Alaska moose (Alces alces gigas): Alaska and Western Yukon.
  4. Shiras moose (Alces alces shirasi): Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Montana.

If you encounter a moose

Although moose will typically flee when they feel threatened, under certain circumstances, they can become defensive. People can be hurt or even killed when a moose charges, stomps, or kick to protect themselves or their young. Bulls are also typically most aggressive during the rut, or mating season.

If you encounter a moose in the wild, make sure not to approach them and watch their behaviors carefully. A moose walking slowly towards you could be ready to attack, especially if the hairs on its hump are raised, it’s licking its lips, grunting, stomping its feet, or the ears are laid back.

Here are some quick tips for moose encounters:

  • Stay calm – don’t yell, throw things, or even offer food since they can still attack after taking food from your hand
  • Back away from the moose, giving at least 50 feet of personal space and a clear area for the moose to escape
  • If they start to charge, run and get behind a stable structure such as a tree, big rock, car, or fence
  • If you get knocked down, curl up in a ball with your hands protecting your head and neck
  • After an attack, play dead and remain still until the moose is gone or they might charge again