REVIEWING ONTARIO’S MOOSE MANAGEMENT POLICY - 1980-2000 - TARGETS ACHIEVED, LESSONS LEARNED
We examine progress made in meeting the 1980, 20- year Ontario Moose Management Policy (MMP) directive. Specific interim (1985, 1995) and final (year 2000) provincial program targets, including population, harvest, hunting, and viewing opportunities, particularly those in the NW Region, are reported. In addition to MMP guidelines, other management policy achievements and shortfalls pertaining to harvest control, population management, enforcement, habitat management, inventory and assessment, research, and hunter education are discussed. Provincially, moose numbers have increased only 7-20% throughout the 1990s plateauing at 100,000- 120,000 while the number of adult tags has almost been halved. Hunter numbers during this period have increased by about 4% and total harvest has remained fairly constant. Adult tag draw success has declined and success in filling a tag has increased while harvest remained similar in absolute numbers. This suggests that factors other than hunting pressure are limiting further population growth. Knowledge gained since 1980 suggests overall population and harvest targets are unattainable and should be revised using adaptive management principles, to more closely reflect land capability and societal demands. Reduced hunter reporting rates in recent years have jeopardized the quality of harvest estimates and diminished overall hunter confidence. Recommendations for policy changes, including revisions to program direction and targets, are made based on lessons learned.
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