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.