Shiras Moose Generations

This morning as my family was getting ready for work and school, my 12 year-old called the family to the kitchen window.  Across the ravine, 3 shiras moose were hanging out on the hillside.  I grabbed my camera, ran across the ravine and got a few photos.  Enjoy!

After watching the animals for about 10-15 minutes, this is my best guess.  One is an old female.  The second is last year’s calf and is a male.  You can just see his horn buds in couple of the close-ups.  The third is also a male and probably her calf from two years ago.   Check out the frost on the female’s back-pretty cool.

Calf on its way to its Mother

Calf greeted by Mother

Older brother makes his way to the others (above).  Younger brother sticks his tounge out at older brother (below).

Here are few interesting facts about Shiras Moose in Utah.

(1) Shiras moose are the smallest of the moose species.  Populations exist in Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Washington and Oregon.

(2) Experts believe that in the modern era, Shiras Moose are not indigenous to Utah.  In 1957, the first Shiras moose count found 57 total animals.

(2) The population high for Shiras moose has been reached in the last 10 years, with a record number of 4,000 Shiras moose in the state of Utah.  This number appears to represent more moose than can be supported in many areas of Northern Utah.  Harvest quotas have been increased to maintain the current and more sustainable level of 3200 shiras moose.

Interesting Excerpt from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources:

Moose are well established in the northern half of Utah with the majority of the moose existing on 9 management units (Table 4). The current statewide population in Utah is estimated at 3200 animals. The general trend of the moose herd has been upward since the late 1950’s, with an average annual growth rate of 1.12 from 1957 to 1991. From 1992-1996, moose populations declined likely due to above average mortality during winter 1992–1993 and moose populations exceeding carrying capacity on some management units. During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, moose population again grew and reached a record population size of nearly 4000 moose in 2005. Since 2005, the moose population has been intentionally reduced due to habitat degradation concerns.

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3 Responses to “Shiras Moose Generations”

  1. Mike Brown Says:

    Nice find and photos! I enjoyed them along with the information.

  2. Darin Hartvigsen Says:

    Hi Ryan, just saw moose pictures. Great pictures. I’ve been in btfl most of my life & grew up right on Mueller Park Canyon. Never saw anything more than female deer & a few breeds of fox. Since living in this area, we also have had male & female moose come through our yard and street (2 or 3 of the years we’ve been here). I have also seen coyote, bobcats, a mountain lion/cougar. Also many Bucks, which I never saw before growing up in MP canyon, some of which have been 6 point.
    Any reason why we are seeing these animals now? And so low elevation/city limits?
    Great pictures, thanks again

    Darin Hartvigsen

    • Darin,

      Big game populations have rebounded pretty significantly from the early late 80’s and early 90’s. For mule deer, buck to doe ratios are strong. Aggressive management and habitat work has resulted in older and more mature bucks. Shiras Moose populations in Bountiful are also probably at an all time high. Elk populations in Utah are the best they have ever been, this has trickled into Davis County which has not traditionally been considered elk country. Interesting note, from 89-94 there was a mountain lion in Bountiful which was preying on dogs and cats. Our neighborhood lost at least 20 household pets during that time.

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