The moose is the largest member of the deer family. Bulls weigh between 500 and 750 kilograms, while cows are lighter in weight. Both sexes stand about two metres high at the shoulder.


Both male and female moose have a "bell" that hangs under the throat. This is a flap of skin covered with hair that can grow as long as 25 cm on males. Moose also have long legs, which help them make their way through deep snow, over bushes and logs and through muskeg. The normal gait for moose is a walk; however, they occasionally trot in a stiff-legged manner. With this peculiar rocking motion, they can reach a speed of 55 kilometres per hour.

Moose are well-known for their distinctive palmate antlers, which only bull moose grow. The rack is in its prime when the animal is about six years of age. During the first year, a moose may grow short stubs. Yearlings may develop one or two forks. As the moose ages, a characteristic shovel shape develops and the antlers form points on both sides.

Cultural importance

This big game animal remains important for Indigenous people in the Northwest Territories (NWT), mainly as a source of food. Huge hides were at one time painstakingly tanned and sewn together to cover large, spruce-frame boats. Moosehide leggings, coats, hats and footwear were necessary to ward off the severe cold. Moose meat was essential to people subsisting in remote areas and the hides were used for tents. A successful hunt was occasion for a feast, and the elders were honoured with the head, which is a delicacy.

In the Tlicho language, moose is called Dendi. In Gwich'in, they are known as Dinjik. In the North Slavey language, they are called Æîts’é.


Moose are widely distributed in the NWT. They are generally found in areas with semi-open forest cover, an abundance of willow and aspen stand located close to lakes, rivers valleys, stream banks and sand bars. Moose prefer deciduous shrubs for fall and winter food, and thick conifers for winter cover. Since the 1900s, moose have also been seen at numerous locations on the tundra where adequate forage is available, including Bathurst Inlet and Coronation Gulf. One was once shot on the east side of Victoria Island.

Moose distribtion by ecoregions
Moose distribtion by ecoregions


Moose are managed by controlling the hunting season for resident and non-resident hunters. Resident hunters can hunt moose between September 1st and January 31st. 

Non-resident hunters are allowed to hunt between September 1st and October 31st. 

General hunting licence holders can hunt during any season.

Information on tag fees, trophy feeds, bag limit, season and hunting areas for harvesting moose in the NWT can be found in the NWT Hunting Guide.