The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) tracks moose population trends through:

  • aerial inventory survey results
  • moose population objectives
  • hunter reporting data
  • estimated trends in other factors, such as winter ticks and brain worm

The combined results of these measurements are used to set the numbers of moose tags available in the annual moose tag allocation process.

Moose aerial inventories

  • Moose aerial inventories are designed to provide estimates of the moose populations in Ontario’s wildlife management units (WMUs). This includes documenting the age class (calf or adult) and sex of moose in these areas.
  • For the moose aerial inventories, most WMU are divided into rectangular plots measuring 10 kilometres x 2.5 kilometres and up to 40 or more plots are flown per WMU.
  • The ministry aims to systematically survey each WMU where moose are hunted.
  • Surveys are flown:
    • between December 1 and mid-February, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • within 12 to 72 hours of a fresh snowfall (at least 30 cm) to better see moose or their tracks
    • when the weather is colder than -5C, when moose are more likely to be active
    • at about 140 metres above ground level, at close to 145 km/hour
    • when the wind is less than 20 km/hour and the sky provides adequate visibility

Moose hunter reporting

MNRF also obtains information on moose populations, including hunter success rates, through hunting activity and hunter harvest reports submitted by moose hunters across the province. Tourist outfitters also submit a report detailing their clients’ moose hunting and harvesting activities. New rules that took effect January 1, 2019 require all provincially licensed moose hunters to report on their activity and harvest.

The results of previous moose hunter activity and harvest reports can be found in the data on Moose hunting activity and harvests.

Trends in climate and parasites

MNRF tracking of moose population trends has also centred on evaluating a range of environmental factors and their long-term effects on moose. This includes looking at how climate change may be changing the interplay of elements within ecological systems including weather, habitat and the prevalence of parasites and diseases.

The ministry uses modeling as well as research and monitoring projects to assess the impact of the wide range of factors that are putting pressure on moose.

Moose population objectives

Cervid Ecological Zone A

Woodland caribou, with low densities of moose and white-tailed deer, live in this zone. For both moose and white-tailed deer, the goal is to maintain low densities through population and habitat management.

map of cervid ecological zone overview

Cervid Ecological Zone Wildlife Management Unit 2021 Population Estimate 2030 Population Objective - Lower 2030 Population Objective - Upper
A 1A 352 250 400
A 1C 6638 3900 9700
A 1D 2990 2400 3600
A 2 1268 900 1200
A 16A 1733 600 1500
A 16B 1359 550 1100
A 16C 1364 950 1300
A 17 1200 900 2000
A 18A 890 800 1100
A 18B 459 300 450
A 24 2178 900 1800
A 25 515 800 1800
A 26 646 1200 1600
A 27 1607 650 1000

Cervid Ecological Zone B

Moose, white-tailed deer and woodland caribou live in this zone. For moose, the goal is to maintain a low to moderate density population.

map of cervid ecological zone overview

Cervid Ecological Zone Wildlife Management Unit 2021 Population Estimate 2030 Population Objective - Lower 2030 Population Objective - Upper
B 3 2202 1900 2500
B 4 2218 1600 2200
B 14 566 450 650
B 15A 2873 1800 3100
B 15B 4967 3400 4600
B 19 1577 1300 1700
B 21A 2888 2800 3800
B 21B 2346 2400 3100
B 22 1326 1700 2100
B 23 1667 1400 2000
B 30 1466 1700 2300
B 33 774 900 1200
B 34 618 500 600

Cervid Ecological Zone C1

Moose and white-tailed deer are the main cervid species in this zone, but there may also be small numbers of elk and woodland caribou. For moose, the goal is to maintain a moderate to high density population.

map of cervid ecological zone overview

Cervid Ecological Zone Wildlife Management Unit 2021 Population Estimate 2030 Population Objective - Lower 2030 Population Objective - Upper
C1 5 2996 3300 3900
C1 8 692 950 2400
C1 9A 687 1300 1700
C1 11B 489 600 850
C1 12A 1001 1200 1500
C1 12B 1901 2000 2500
C1 13 2254 3300 4400

Cervid Ecological Zone C2

Moose and white-tailed deer are the main cervid species in this zone, but there may also be small numbers of elk and woodland caribou. For moose, the goal is to maintain a moderate to high density population.

map of cervid ecological zone overview

Cervid Ecological Zone Wildlife Management Unit 2021 Population Estimate 2030 Population Objective - Lower 2030 Population Objective - Upper
C2 28 3153 2300 3200
C2 29 1744 1800 2200
C2 31 2270 2100 3200
C2 32 1286 1100 1600
C2 35 1411 1900 2500
C2 38 1715 2300 2800
C2 39 1186 1400 1800
C2 40 1586 1900 2800
C2 41 1674 2600 3500

Cervid Ecological Zone D1

Moose, white-tailed deer and elk live in this zone. For moose, the goal is to maintain a moderate to high density population.

map of cervid ecological zone overview

Cervid Ecological Zone Wildlife Management Unit 2021 Population Estimate 2030 Population Objective - Lower 2030 Population Objective - Upper
D1 6 199 500 1400
D1 7A 21 75 200
D1 7B 212 400 1100
D1 9B 468 700 1000
D1 11A 414 550 850

Cervid Ecological Zone D2

Moose, white-tailed deer and elk live in this zone. For moose, the goal is to maintain a moderate to high density population.

map of cervid ecological zone overview

Cervid Ecological Zone Wildlife Management Unit 2021 Population Estimate 2030 Population Objective - Lower 2030 Population Objective - Upper
D2 36 739 1200 1500
D2 37 687 1100 1400
D2 42 1105 1700 2300
D2 46 404 350 1300
D2 47 1100 900 1200
D2 48 1052 600 1400
D2 49 929 700 1500
D2 50 270 300 800
D2 53 339 250 1000
D2 54 386 400 800
D2 55A 177 250 400
D2 55B 82 50 250
D2 56 458 350 700
D2 57 279 200 500
D2 58 84 50 100
D2 60 509 400 700
D2 61 287 200 400
D2 62 41 50 100
D2 63 164 100 450

Cervid Ecological Zone E1, E2 and E3

White-tailed deer is the main cervid species living in this zone, but there are also small numbers of moose and elk. Moose are managed for low population densities in some parts of the zone.

map of cervid ecological zone overview

Cervid Ecological Zone Wildlife Management Unit 2021 Population Estimate 2030 Population Objective - Lower 2030 Population Objective - Upper
E3 59 - 10 25
E3 65 141 75 150
Updated: June 02, 2021
Published: June 24, 2014