Moose on the Move: Why the Animals Are Migrating to Nevada in Unprecedented Numbers

by Craig Garrett

Moose are quickly and stealthily gaining numbers in the northeast area of Nevada, and they don’t need people to assist them. According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, it’s the first time a major game species has done so in Nevada without assistance from the department. The first moose sighting in Nevada was back in the 1950s. However, that was a very uncommon sight back then. They’ve become much more frequent in recent years reports the Reno Gazette Journal.

In 2018, the Nevada Department of Wildlife estimated that there were between 30 and 50 moose living in the state. However, that number has grown over the past 4 years. According to NDOW Biologist Kari Huebner, that number is already over 100. Huebner is impressed with the animals’ migration. According to her, the best part of the moose population’s resurgence is that they are completely doing it themselves. “We did absolutely nothing. It’s like the moose have chosen us,” Huebner explained.“It’s something they’ve done completely on their own.”

Moose are one of the largest land animals in North America, standing around 6 feet tall and weighing up to 1,000 pounds. Since 2018, the department has collared seven cows and three bulls in order to better understand ungulates. Two of them migrate to Nevada during the winter and return to Idaho during the summer. Since 2020, two female moose with radio collars have given birth to four sets of twins, including a set this year.

Nevada’s moose population will keep growing, according to experts

Huebner believes that the population will continue to multiply. The ungulates, the largest members of the deer family, are most likely moving in from Southern Idaho and Western Utah, where numbers are increasing. Their numbers are much higher in those states. The moose population in Idaho has reached 12,000 individuals, while Utah has a little more than 3,000.

Elko and Humboldt counties in Nevada provide lone moose with plentiful areas to explore and live due to the riparian habitats, as well as an abundance of aspen trees and mahogany bushes. Another benefit these animals have discovered is that there are no wolves or black bears in the area which eliminates any dangers they may face while living alone. Without natural predators, the animals are sure to thrive.

The wild animals have spread out into an impressively wide-ranging terrain. People have seen Moose as far south as the Ruby Mountains in Nevada. “There’s a lot more moose habitat in Nevada than people realize,” Huebner stated. The more data NDOW has on Nevada’s growing moose population, the better it can manage it. So, if you see a moose while out and about, please give them a call at 775-688-1500 to report it.