The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has asked the public to report moose sightings and observations. DEC and its research partners use these public sightings as indices of moose distribution and abundance in New York.
This is part of a multi-year research project to obtain information on the status of New York State’s moose population, health of the moose, and the factors that influence moose survival and reproductive rate.
Moose sightings increase in the spring with the rising temperatures and melting snow. As cows prepare to give birth to the current year’s calf, the previous year’s calves become separated and must look for their own territories. New food sources become available as snow melts and plants grow, while biologically-essential salt is available along roadsides from winter road maintenance. In late spring, there is an increase in public recreation in the Adirondacks, as well. These factors lead to more opportunities for the public to observe moose.
In 2018, a total of 220 moose observations were reported to DEC, a noticeable increase from the 163 reports in 2017. This is likely due to an increase in public awareness and assistance with reporting moose sightings. Most moose sightings occur within the Adirondacks, but neighboring states Connecticut and Massachusetts also have moose populations, resulting in observations in the southeast portion of New York.
The moose, a protected mammal in New York State, is the largest member of the deer family and the largest land mammal in New York. Bulls weigh from 600 to 1,200 pounds and stand up to six feet tall at the shoulder. Cows weigh anywhere from 500 to 800 pounds.
DEC reminds the public to respect wildlife by viewing from a distance, at least 50 feet away. Keep quiet, move slowly, and do not approach moose. Drive cautiously at dusk and at night in the Adirondacks. Due to their height and dark color, moose are hard to see on the road until they are close. There have been at least three moose-motor vehicle collisions in the past three weeks.
Map of public moose sightings by down 2017 courtesy DEC.