Don’t feed the moose! IDFG reports people hand-feeding moose in Idaho Panhandle

A moose walks around in the snow
Credit: Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game

IDAHO – Do not feed the moose!

That is the message the Idaho Department of Fish and Game wants to convey to people across the Idaho Pandhandle.

During winter months, it is common to see moose within city limits in the Idaho Panhandle, as well as other parts of the state. IDFG says the creatures move to lower elevations to avoid deep snowpack and take advantage of milder weather conditions.

Moose are not normally aggressive, but they are unpredictable, which is why IDFG wants you to just let them be.

They may look docile, but they can quickly charge or kick if they feel threatened. In particular, mother cows with calves require extra space and caution.

“A moose cow with calf is one of the most dangerous animals people can encounter in the Panhandle,” said Regional Conservation Officer Craig Walker.

If you see a moose, there is a chance they are seeking refuge from harsh winter conditions in the mountains. You should give them room and avoid giving them food that might keep them in town longer.

“We’ve had reports of people feeding hay, carrots, even hand-feeding peanuts to moose,” said Walker.

These foods, even the hay, are unnatural sources of winter nutrition and can hurt the animal’s digestive system.

According to IDFG, feeding a moose does more harm than good. A moose that has been fed may approach people, including children, expecting a handout. A food-conditioned moose can become aggressive if it does not receive the food it is expecting.

If a moose acts aggressively toward people, it may have to be shot to protect public safety. IDFG says relocation is sometimes an option, but moving a moose to a new habitat during winter puts the animal at high risk of predation or malnutrition.

Keep north Idaho’s moose wild by allowing them space to move freely and letting them find their own grub.