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Moose

Alces alces
Moose 520x289
Although common in the mixed conifer forest of northeastern Washington and northern Idaho, the first moose observed on the refuge was recorded in 1994.  This single yearling cow was observed in the northern portion of the Auto Tour Route that was prescribed burned in 1992.  The intense fire that year resulted in a substantial regeneration of willow. Moose are known for their preference for young willows resprouting after fire.  For the next four years, 2-3 moose sightings consisting of a single yearling or adult male or female were recorded per year. The first year that a young calf, likely born on the refuge, was observed was in 2000.  Every year since, cows with young calves have been observed and sightings have steadily increased.  By 2008 an average of 15 moose sightings were reported per year.
The Washington Department of Wildlife and Fisheries conducts an annual elk helicopter survey of the refuge and surrounding area in late September.  Since 2008 they have been recording any moose observed. With the exception of 2009 when they observed 18 moose, the average number observed has been 8.  About half of the moose observed were actually on the refuge.  Based on observations of differences in the sex and age of moose observed and the number of young in attendance, we believe the population of moose using the refuge as part of their home range is closer to 12.  Moose are generally observed along the entrance road and Auto Tour Route from March through October in the early morning and evening hours.

Facts About Moose


Largest living member of the deer family
 
Males (bulls) have large palmate antlers that can have a 6 ft spread
 
Height at shoulders can exceed 7 ft
 
Males can weigh 1,600 lbs.
Last Updated: Dec 13, 2012
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