Alces alces gigas (Alaska-Yukon Moose), Alces alces americana (Canadian Moose), and Alces alces shirasi (Shiras Moose)

The moose is the largest game animal in the Western Hemisphere. It is also the largest of the deer family. There are three distinct classifications of moose with the Labrador Moose being a possible fourth.

Moose are large, with the biggest bulls weighing just short of a ton. They have huge bodies perched on stilt-like legs giving the appearance of awkwardness. This is misleading because even though their movements appear herky-jerky they are quit agile and fast. Anyone who has watched a large bull, easily jump a cattle fence would agree. A large Alaska-Yukon bull can stand 7 and a half feet at the shoulder. The Canadian Moose is about 15% smaller and the Shiras Moose of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana will stand 6 foot at the shoulder and weigh over 1000 pounds. Moose are powerful animals that can bulldoze through thick vegetation when they choose. A bull moose’s antlers can measure more than 6 feet across. Moose tracks can be distinguished from cattle on the same range due to their characteristic heart shape. Moose droppings tend to be drier and lighter colored than elk or deer and have an acorn-like appearance.

Hunting moose takes on a logistical aspect as no other North American game quite does. Hunting is only the beginning as cleaning, skinning, quartering, and packing a moose is a job for only the dedicated and those who are stout of back Moose are not particularly difficult to find as they will regularly make their appearances at dawn and dusk. The Alaskan-Yukon Moose does exhibit a somewhat higher excitement level than do their cousins the Canadian and Shiras Moose owing probably to the fact that they are more intensively hunted in Alaska. Any cartridge that is used to take elk will work satisfactorily on the smaller Shiras Moose, with the 7mm Magnums and larger the best for the Canadian Moose. For the Alaska-Yukon Moose many have been taken with a 30-06, but during the rut a big bull in Alaska is the nearest thing to being bullet proof you will see this side of Africa. For insurance the 375 H&H; has been popular for many years.

One note is applicable here. It may seem obvious but when hunting moose it is best to try to take your game when they are not in the water. The job of gutting and hauling the meat is compounded many times if you have to do it in or under the water. Situations may arise where you do not have a choice, but for the most part it should and can be avoided.

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