Species / International Ovis

Shiras Moose

Alces alces shiras


The Shiras moose is found in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, commencing at the International Boundary at Sumas Highway 11 to Trans-Canada Highway #1, following southeastern along the Trans-Canada Highway #1; and southwestern Alberta south of the Trans-Canada Highway #1 and west of Highway #2 to the International Boundary. In the United States they are found in northeastern Washington, northern and eastern Idaho, western Montana, western and southern Wyoming, northeastern Utah, and northwest Colorado


Moose are solitary except when mating, or a cow with her recent offspring, living by itself in a small home range. They mate in September and October, with bulls displaying and fighting for dominance and taking one female at a time. Bulls can be dangerous during the rut, and unarmed humans may be at risk. Calves are born in May and June, frequently twins, though often a single and occasionally triplets. They are a browser, depending on woody vegetation – notably willow, poplar, balsam, aspen and birch – eating the leaves, twigs and bark. The moose feeds on aquatic vegetation by wading into lakes and streams, often submerging completely to feed on the bottom. Vision is poor, with stationary objects seemingly not recognized at all. Senses of smell and hearing are excellent. They are active throughout the day, but with peaks at dawn and dusk. Despite its ungainly appearance, the moose is nimble and surefooted. It is able to cross swamps and quicksand where other animals would mire. Its normal gait is a quiet, careful walk, but it can maintain a speed of 35 mph for a considerable distance. They have great endurance, and are able to run up mountainsides or through deep snow or downed timber for miles. They are excellent swimmers. They are silent except during the rut, when the sexes call to each other with grunts and moans. Their principal predator is the wolf, with the grizzly in a lesser role. As a number of wolves are required to bring down a moose, healthy adults are seldom attacked; calves and sick or aged adults are the preferred prey. Moose prefer evergreen wooded areas with hills, swamps and openings bordering lakes and rivers, generally with a seasonal snow cover. In summer, they are often found high in the mountains (even above tree line) to escape biting insects. They migrate in the fall to lower elevations.

Information found here contains excerpts from the on-line and printed version of Safari Club International (SCI) Record Book of Trophy Animals and is used by permission. Visit www.scirecordbook.org.


The Shiras moose has the smallest body and antlers of any North American moose. The body color is a rusty yellowish-brown, with a pale brownish saddle. The moose is North America’s largest deer and grows the largest antlers. It is a huge, awkward-looking animal with a large hump on its shoulders, very long legs and massive, palmate antlers. The antlers grow out from the sides of the head, with the main beam dividing into two principal branches. The smaller branch grows forward and outward and is usually palmate (the brow palm), with points growing from the palm’s forward edge. The larger branch extends backward and upward and becomes a large, flattened palm (the main palm), with points growing from the top and outer edges.

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