MOOSE RESPONSE TO HUNTING AND 1 KM² BLOCK CUTTING
In Ontario, overharvesting of moose (Alces alces) is often associated with extensive access for hunters and lack of cover for moose in recently logged areas. The effect of increased cover was examined on a 110 km2 area which had alternate cut and leave blocks averaging about 1 km2. Road density exceeded 1.3 km/km2. The area was open to moose hunting each year, but some roads were closed to vehicle travel. The most population declined from about 0.40 moose/km2 before extensive cutting and road access to about 0.27 moose/km2 after the cutting and roads were completed. Hunting pressure became high when the area became road accessible, and the harvest was about 0.2 moose/km2. Pressure then declined to a moderate level, and harvest declined to about 0.1 moose/km2. The moose population in the block cut area after hunting was much higher than in nearby continuous cutover areas. Moose were strongly associated with standing timber. Leave blocks of 0.7 km2 were larger and were used more than smaller blocks, and leave blocks greater than 5.0 km2 were used more than medium sized blocks. Total leave area and leave block size appear to be important in protecting moose from hunters. Road closures did not seem to increase moose density. The calf component of the block cut area was low at 0.03 calves/km2, indicating high predation and low sustainable yield. Actual sustainable yield appears to be higher, so immigration may be important. Optimum cut pattern is discussed.
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