STATUS AND MANAGEMENT OF MOOSE IN THE PARKLAND AND GRASSLAND NATURAL REGIONS OF ALBERTA

Ronald R. Bjorge, Delaney Anderson, Emily Herdman, Scott Stevens

Abstract


Moose (Alces alces) naturally colonized the Parkland Natural Region of Alberta during the 1980s and early 1990s, and later colonized the Grassland Natural Region by the early 2000s. We summarize population data during 1996–2016 for these regions, examining density, population trends, productivity, distribution, management, and moose-human conflicts to determine population status and sustainability. Within the Parkland, aerial surveys from one frequently monitored Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) indicated a significant increase (R2 = 0.7476, P < 0.001) in density, representing an annual rate of change of 1.07. Pooled data from an additional 21 Parkland WMUs indicated a mean annual rate of change of 1.11. Mean density for the 22 Parkland WMUs over the study period was 0.19 ± 0.06 moose/km2, and aerial surveys indicated a mean of 74.4 ± 3.6 calves/100 cows and 51.9 ± 2.9 bulls/100 cows. Within the Grassland, winter aerial survey data from 4 WMUs indicated a mean density of 0.05 ± 0.01 moose/km2, and 72.5 ± 6.75 calves/100 cows and 108.8 ± 34.4 bulls/100 cows. Hunting in these regions has been managed with a limited entry hunt. Resident rifle hunting opportunity for moose in the Parkland and Grassland increased 4.2-fold between 1996 and 2015. Opportunity in this region also represented an increasing proportion of that available province-wide, from 3.4% in 1996 to 19.8% in 2015.

Keywords


Population Demography; Management

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