Sunday, February 12, 2023

New York’s moose population steady, possibly growing


Moose in winter in NY

Moose have been present in the northern portion of New York since the Pleistocene (period of time spanning about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago). However, by as early as the 1860s overhunting and habitat degradation had eliminated moose from New York. In response, a handful of small-scale moose restoration efforts were undertaken between 1870 and 1902 by private landowners and the NYS Fish, Forest and Game Commission, but were not successful. Over the next eighty years there were periodic moose sightings, but it wasn’t until 1986 that DEC staff documented a small population of resident moose in the Adirondacks that may have immigrated from Vermont, Massachusetts, or Quebec. Around 2010, it was thought that the population that started with only 6-11 individuals had grown to many as 400.

Over the past eight years, DEC has partnered with Cornell University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry to monitor and assess the health and stability of New York’s moose population. Researchers determined that there were approximately 700 moose (as of 2019) located within the Adirondack Park. They also evaluated food availability and determined there was enough food on the landscape to support a larger population. Their study of GPS-collared adult cows (females) found that there was limited movement of these individuals to other areas, suggesting that these cows had enough local resources to establish home ranges, breed, and produce calves. These studies suggest that New York’s moose population is stable or potentially growing.


The first two years of a moose’s life can be the hardest due to winter conditions and an increased susceptibility to pathogens and parasites. Because of this, over the past two winters DEC partnered with Cornell University and Native Range Capture Services to catch 30 calf and yearling moose. All captured individuals were outfitted with GPS-tracking collars, which will self-release after two years of data collection. This study will help researchers assess how many calves and yearlings are surviving to breeding age. DEC will continue to monitor the population and potential threats to hopefully give moose the best chance of maintaining a healthy and viable population in New York into the future.


Photo at top by Erika Schwoyer. Photo courtesy of the NYS DEC.

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Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

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8 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    This meshes with what I have seen as far as moose and moose sign in the woods where I hunt. The few I have been lucky enough to see (bulls, cows, and calfs) and the ones I have game camera shots of look very healthy.

  2. Charlie Stehlin says:

    “an increased susceptibility to pathogens and parasites.”

    There was a dead moose in Canada that had over 100,000 ticks attached to its corpse. There was a moose in Vermont which had 90,000 ticks on it. Ticks are a major problem for moose in Maine and other states. As the planet cooks things will only get worse!

    • Paul says:

      It has been a relatively mild winter in the Adirondacks, and as far as these data look, winter ticks don’t seem to be a problem for Adk moose. It’s easy to just blame everything on a warming planet but I think things could also be more complex. I actually hope that is true otherwise all the moose are already doomed. Because the best you can do is slow or (in the best case) stop the human induced component of climate change.

  3. JT says:

    Ticks are a problem for moose but there’s also the brain worm problem as well. My thoughts are it may be in the best interest of the Adirondack moose population to maintain it at a level below the habitat carrying capacity. Could this help reduce potential for tick infestation? Not so sure about brain worm because this is carried by deer as well. A limited hunting season may actually benefit the moose population as a whole.

  4. Joseph Van Gelder says:

    Any deer hunters notice when moose move into an area the deer seem to move out ?

    • JT says:


      I cannot speak from personal experience because I don’t frequently hunt the Adirondacks, but have a friend who belongs to a camp in the northern ADK’s.
      He had a couple of nice trail cam pictures of moose. He also shot a nice 8 point buck, so, I guess they have both moose and deer in the same area there. Could it be that the moose were just traveling through the area, no way to know.

  5. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Paul says: “It’s easy to just blame everything on a warming planet but I think things could also be more complex.”

    The only thing complex Paul is us humans; and a warming planet cannot be good no matter how you look at it as already we’re seeing the consequences of such. Things could be more complex yes, and they most certainly will be…..just give it a little more time.

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