The Maine story of the moose

July 24, 2014, 1 p.m.
moose

Photo: Cody Wellons/MNN Flickr Group

My deer, you're so tall!

The moose is the largest of the deer species, standing between 5-6.5 feet tall at the shoulder. With such a large stature, it’s no wonder that they were a prime target for settlers looking for game. By the 1870s, only a small population of moose remained in the east coast of the United States, and the species was gone from much of its native habitat in the U.S. until a conservation effort began in the 1980s to bring moose back. Since then, smarter land management, pollution clean-up, and reclaimed natural habitat have all played a role in moose populations rebounding. Moose are now back in Massachusettes, eastern New York and Connecticut among other areas after being gone for many decades.

Maine now boasts the second highest population of moose, second after Alaska, with around 75,000 individuals. Visit Maine notes, “Moose can be seen throughout the state, but their population is greatest in the Western Lakes and Mountains, the Kennebec & Moose River Valleys, the Maine Highlands, and Aroostook County. The best times to spot them are at dusk and dawn from mid-May through July and again in the fall during their breeding season.” If you go out looking for moose, just remember to keep your distance and respect their space. They can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour when charging, so don’t do anything to anger a 1,000 pound moose!

Unfortunately, moose are again having trouble thriving but this time not due to over-hunting. It is due to a mix of problems, from brain worms to tick infestations. Different states’ populations are experiencing different problems, but one of the few places where moose populations aren’t changing nearly as dramatically is Maine where the northern forests are ideal for the species.



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Jaymi Heimbuch is a writer and photographer at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Google+, and Facebook.