The how, when, and where to see Moose in Maine will depend on a few factors. If you’ve never seen a Maine moose before it can be difficult to know how to get started. In this post, you’ll learn everything you need to put the odds in your favor as much as possible so you have the best odds for success.
When Is The Best Time Of Year To See Moose In Maine
You can see moose at any time of year, you just need to know where to look. Like most animals, moose change their locations depending on the time of year. They do this to conserve their energy. For this reason, you need to look in the right areas at the right time of year to increase your odds of seeing a moose.
Additionally, cows and calves will often be found in different areas than bulls, even at the same time of year. This is important to know depending on what gender of moose you want to see to put the odds in your favor.
Spring Maine Moose Habitat
Cows and Calves
In early spring, cows and calves are coming down out of the mountains and making their way to the greenery that is starting to emerge in the lower elevations because it provides nutritious feed. As they migrate, you can find moose at any elevation.
It will be difficult to tell bulls from cows at this time of year because antlers are just starting to grow. However, it is common for bulls to remain in the mountains for the majority of the time in the Spring so if you see moose in lower elevations the odds are higher that you’re seeing cows and calves feeding.
Summer Maine Moose Habitat
Cows and Calves
During the summer cows and calves are spending a lot of time eating aquatic vegetation at the edges of swamps, lakes, and ponds. This is when moose are the most visible. Summer is one of the best times to see moose, especially cows and calves.
Cows are trying to conserve energy and increase calve survival by staying in close proximity to high densities of nutritious food. The trade-off is that temperatures are warmer and it requires energy to stay cool. However, cow and calve body size is generally smaller than bulls which helps them cool down faster.
Bulls will be found at higher elevations in the summer. You are less likely to see bulls at lower elevations because bulls are trying to conserve energy by not exerting themselves and overheating.
They like higher elevations because it is cooler and breezier up in the mountains. Bull moose like hardwood stands that provide a lot of younger plant regen (like old cuts) because this is the best food source in the mountains. They also like mixed woods and softwood stands for shading when they’re not feeding.
The trade-off is bulls don’t have the same density of high-quality food as the cows and the calves. However, bulls don’t have to worry about raising a calve so it works for their needs.
Fall Maine Moose Habitat
Moose breed in the fall, this is known as the Maine moose rut. It occurs for about one week during the last week of September in Maine. This is when moose are very visible because bulls are coming down out of the mountains and are running around searching for cows in lower elevations.
For this reason, the rut is one of the best times to see moose and the best time to see bulls in Maine. You can learn more about how to find Maine moose during the rut here: How To Hunt Maine Moose During The Rut – Tips For Finding Rutting Bulls.
The rut starts to taper off and will pretty much be done by mid-October. At this time all moose start feeding heavy, preparing for winter. Once the high-quality leaf browse has changed color or fallen off, moose head back up into the mountains.
Winter Maine Moose Habitat
Moose head into the mountains in the winter, using mountains to shelter themselves from wind and snow. They’ll use the leeward side of the mountains to stay out of the worst of the conditions.
Often they’ll be close to hardwood browse where they can feed on young regenerating vegetation. Once snow becomes deep (around 3 feet) they’ll use mature softwoods for shelter. The snow depth will be reduced under mature softwoods.
When Is The Best Time Of Day To See Moose In Maine
Outside of the rut, the best time of day to see moose in Maine is dawn and dusk. This is because moose are known as crepuscular creatures which means they are most active during twilight.
That said, during the rut moose are much more active. During adequate weather conditions, moose are often moving around all day for days at a time.
Where To See Moose In Maine
To give yourself the best chances of seeing a moose in Maine, you’ll want to be in the areas that have the most moose per square mile. These areas are northern and western Maine. There are a few reasons for this which we will discuss:
Just getting out of populated areas will greatly increase your odds of seeing moose because they prefer large tracts of undeveloped land.
If you’re in a semi-populated area your chances are going to be less than if you’re in the more remote wilderness. Luckily, these undeveloped areas are easy to get to in Maine.
Cold Regions of Maine
Additionally, moose like the cold because their big bodies have a hard time regulating heat. For this reason, they are found in more northern areas of Maine where the temperature is colder on average.
Maine Moose also like mountainous areas because they can use them to their advantage energetically. For example, moose like mountains because temperatures are cooler and breezier on mountain tops than in valleys or in flatter landscapes.
The mountains are especially important in Western Maine because it allows moose to extend their range further south. Without the mountains, it would likely be warm for moose and the population would likely be lower.
This is why you can find a good population of moose in the mountainous areas of Western Maine even though it is fairly far south.
Moose In Maine Maps
Maine Climate Divisions
To see moose in Maine it makes sense to look in the Northern Climate Division because that is where there is a combination of adequate temperatures, low human population densities, and good moose habitat.
Maine Moose Collision Map
This image is helpful for understanding where to find moose in Maine but should be taken with a grain of salt. For example, it shows that moose can be found in western Maine and Northern Maine based on the number of car crashes involving moose.
But as you can tell there are no road networks in northwestern Maine so obviously no data was collected for these areas which is why it’s colored green. But you can bet if there were roads in northwestern Maine there would be red epicenters there as well.
So you have to use your imagination, but it is still helpful to see how accurately the collisions relate to the Northern Maine Climate Division (map above).
Maine Moose Registrations Map
You can hunt moose in Maine. When a moose is harvested hunters have to register their moose so the state can track the health of the moose population in Maine. The map below shows where the most moose were tagged in Maine in 2013.
This information should also be taken with a grain of salt because not every area of Maine is given permits to hunt moose. However, this map does show that northern Maine has a lot of moose. This is helpful to prove that moose are found throughout northwestern Maine.
Where To Find Moose In Maine Map
I’ve created a Maine moose location map sketch of the best locations to see moose in Maine based on my education, research, and years of experience in the Maine woods. Your odds of seeing a Maine moose greatly increase by looking for moose in the higher probability area shown:
How To See Moose In Maine
So now that you know where to see moose in Maine the next step is how to go about making a game plan. The best way to see moose in Maine is to drive the seemingly unlimited logging roads in Northern Maine. You can easily get access to these logging roads through North Maine Woods, Inc by paying a small fee.
You can increase your odds of finding moose by using a phone GPS app to find the best moose habitat for the time of year. This can include; cuts, swamps, mountains…etc.
Drive around to high probability habitat spots, preferably in the morning and evening and you have a very good chance of seeing moose in Maine feeding or traveling if you’re within the high probability area on the map above.
Best Places To See Moose In Maine
Grey, Maine Animal Wildlife Park
If you’re looking for an easier way to see Maine moose, then you can head to the Grey, Maine Animal Wildlife Park. There are many species of Maine animals, including moose.
These are rescued animals that cannot be released back into the wilderness for a variety of reasons. Tickets help to fund the rehabilitation of animals and continue the Wildlife Park.
Best Gear For Maine Moose Watching
If you’re new to moose watching in Maine there is some gear that will help you have the best experience. Optics, cameras, attachments, navigation, and safety equipment are good items to bring. My post: Best Moose Watching Gear For Maine | Maine Moose Watching 101 can help you choose the best gear for Maine moose watching.
Hopefully, you have a better idea of where to see moose in Maine. Being in the right spot at the right time of year is most of the challenge. Now that you know where to look at the right time you should have success. If you have questions feel free to reach out.
Find Me On:
- The State of Big Game in Maine by Meredith Braun, Angela Cross, and Jake Lukach
- Maine’s Climate Future 2020 Update