ASSESSING MOOSE HUNTER DISTRIBUTION TO EXPLORE HUNTER COMPETITION

Tessa R. Hasbrouck, Todd J. Brinkman, Glenn Stout, Knut Kielland

Abstract


Traditional values, motivations, and expectations of seclusion by moose (Alces alces) hunters, more specifically their distributional overlap and encounters in the field, may exacerbate perceptions of competition among hunters. However, few studies have quantitatively addressed overlap in hunting activity where hunters express concern about competition. To assess spatial and temporal characteristics of competition, our objectives were to: 1) quantify temporal harvest patterns in regions with low (roadless rural) and high (roaded urban) accessibility, and 2) quantify overlap in harvest patterns of two hunter groups (local, non-local) in rural regions. We used moose harvest data (2000–2016) in Alaska to quantify and compare hunting patterns across time and space between the two hunter groups in different moose management areas. We created a relative hunter overlap index that accounted for the extent of overlap between local and non-local harvest. The timing of peak harvest was different (P < 0.01) in urban and rural regions, occurring in the beginning and middle of the hunting season, respectively. In the rural region, hunter overlap scores revealed a concentration in 20% of the area on 16–20 September, with 50% of local harvest on 33% of the area and 54% of non-local harvest on 18% of the area. We recommend specific management strategies, such as lifting the air transportation ban into inaccessible areas, to redistribute hunters and reduce overlap and concerns of competition in high-use areas. We also encourage dissemination of information about known hotspots of hunter overlap to modify hunter expectations and subsequent behavior. Our hunter overlap index should prove useful in regions where similar concerns about hunter competition, hunter satisfaction, and related management dilemmas occur.

Keywords


Alces alces; Competition Index; Harvest Patterns; Hunting; Interior Alaska; Moose

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