The moose (Alces alces) is the world’s largest member of the deer family, and the Alaska subspecies (Alces alces gigas) is the largest of all the moose. In prime condition, a mature male might weigh from 1,200 to 1,600 pounds, with adult females weighing between 800 and 1,300 pounds. And with trophy-class bulls found throughout Alaska, more people hunt moose than any other of Alaska’s big-game species. In fact, hunters report harvesting some 6,000 to 8,000 of Alaska’s estimated 175,000 moose each year. That’s about 3.5 million pounds of meat
Generally associated with northern forests, moose in Alaska occur in suitable habitat from the Stikine River in the Southeast Panhandle to the Colville River on the Arctic Slope. Moose abundance, or density, can range from as low as one animal per 30 square miles to as high as five or more moose per square mile. They are most abundant in recently burned areas that contain willow and birch shrubs, on timberline plateaus and along the major rivers of southcentral and interior Alaska.
Moose breed in the fall with the peak of the rut activities coming in late September and early October, and with most making seasonal movements anywhere from only a few miles to as many as 60, the key to avoiding frustration when moose hunting in Alaska is doing your homework to determine both the best areas and times to hunt. Another key when choosing an area to hunt is to remember that success will mean about 400 to 700 pounds of meat and up to 65 pounds of antlers will need transportation from the kill-site.