Minnesota Hunter Safety Course


Appendix A: Wildlife ID

Large Mammals


(Alces alces)

The moose can have a length (from snout to tail) of about 10 feet, and a maximum height of about 7 ½ feet at the shoulders. Males (bulls) are usually larger and can weigh-in at 1,400 pounds, while the female (cow) is smaller and has a weight of 600 to 800 pounds.

A moose's habitat will usually be in forested areas, but always close to a water source.

Hunting Season(s): Usually early fall.



(Cervus elaphus)

The elk resides mainly in wooded areas, and can commonly stray into open plains or foothills. The male can reach a weight of approximately 1,000 pounds, while the female will reach 600 pounds.

The elk is slightly smaller than the moose in length, reaching an overall length of 9 ½ feet, and a shoulder height of 4 to 5 feet.

Hunting Season(s): Lottery deadline in mid-summer.

Mule Deer

(Odocoileus hemionus)

The mule deer is predominately found in the western United States and Canada, but extends eastward as far as Wisconsin. Its habitat will range from forest edges to mountains to foothills.

The male has antlers which can have a spread up to 4 feet, and has an overall length (snout to tai) of about 6 feet. The male will weigh up to 475 pounds, and the female up to 160 pounds.

Hunting Season(s): Consult Minnesota's Hunting Regulations Handbook.

White-Tailed Deer

(Odocoileus virginianus)

The white-tailed deer can vary greatly in size. The male (buck) will typically weigh between 150 and 310 pounds, with the female (doe) coming in a little lighter between 90 and 210 pounds. When alerted to danger, the deer raises its tail, exposing the white fur underneath, hence their name.

The white-tailed deer is found throughout most of the United States, with the exception of some South-Western states.

Hunting Season(s): Different seasons for rifle, muzzleloader and archery hunters. Archery season starts as early as spring.

Grizzly Bear

(Ursus arctos)

Grizzly bears are the larger of the 2 bear species. They weigh upwards of  330 pounds when mature with some bigger males(boar) weighing as much as 1000 pounds.Both male (boar) and female (sow) grizzly bears have soft and thick fur, it can be a variety of colors from blonde to black. "Grizzly" comes from the long blonde or white guard hairs located mostly on their back. This gives them a "Grizzled" appearance. They can usually be found remote wilderness areas but are not afraid to venture close to rural areas in search of food. Grizzly bears are not found on the coastal islands.

Hunting Season(s): Consult MInnesota Hunting Regulations


Black Bear

(Ursus americanus)

The Black bear is the smallest of the bear species found in North America, weighing in at an average of about 550 pounds. Its coloration varies with its distribution. In the East, its fur is nearly completely black whereas in the West, it can have almost a cinnamon coloration on the back, with a white chest.

Like its coloration, the bear's habitat also varies from East to West. In the East, the black bear is mainly found in forest lands and swamps while in the West it can be found in forest lands and wooded mountains. The bear's home range is usually about 10 square miles.

Hunting Season(s): Usually late-summer to early-spring


Gray Wolf (Timber Wolf)

(Canis lupus)

It is nearly impossible to tell the sex of a wolf by looks alone. Both the males and females will weigh up to 130 pounds, and vary greatly in color from snowy white to near-black. Once prolific in most of North America, the Gray Wolf is now only found in the northern United States and parts of Canada, and is on the endangered species list in most states. These animals travel in packs, are very territorial and can cover great distances. Typically a pack's territory covers approximately 100 square miles, usually around plains or forests.

Hunting Season: Consult Minnesota Hunting Regulations.