MODELLING A HUNTED MOOSE POPULATION IN NEW BRUNSWICK
To explore the role of hunting in population dynamics, a deterministic simulation model was built to mimic a real moose (Alces alces) population in a 2396 km2 area of southeastern New Brunswick. Data from moose population statistics in southeastern New Brunswick were used to initialize the models variables. Harvest rates above 6%, if no antlered males were shot, and 9.5%, if only antlered males were shot, initiated a decrease in the population. Hunting was an additive mortality factor at densities below 0.4 moose per km2. Hunting after the rutting period allowed a harvest rate 10% higher than before or during the rut. At harvest rates less than 5%, time of harvest relative to the rut was inconsequential. There was little benefit in distorting harvest sex ratio above 60% antlered males. Although hunting was an important mortality factor, moose populations in southeastern New Brunswick appeared ultimately to be driven by natural mortality factors and poaching of the adult cohort. The potential role of hunting in population dynamics is limited by the magnitude and timing of non-hunting mortality factors.
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