THE INFLUENCE OF ACCESSIBILITY ON MOOSE HUNTING IN NORTHWESTERN QUÉBEC
Moose (Alces alces) density, hunting pressure (days/km2), sport harvest, and harvest rate (% of the population killed) were monitored in study blocks supporting different types and sizes of clear cuts in order to identify the impact of road access on moose hunting. The block with the lowest moose density (0.11 moose/km2) was the Control Block which was dominated by virtually unexploited mature coniferous stands. Densities were moderate to high in the cut blocks (0.22-0.58 moose/km2). We measured a 3 - 6% non-significant (P > 0.05) increase in harvest rate by sport hunting in 2 blocks surveyed before and after cutting. After cutting, harvest rate was moderate in the first (15.4) and high in the second block (23.7%). In the blocks surveyed exclusively after cutting operations, harvest rates were high (23-29%). Overall, among all blocks and years, harvest rate was 19.6% before cutting and 23.5% after. Hunting pressure increased in recently cur blocks but moose density and proximity from urban areas were as important as road access in influencing hunting pressure. Camp-hunters, who yielded the majority of harvested moose, did not rely exclusively on forest roads for access to their hunting sites. The majority of them (70%) hunted in 2 km2 or less, and consequently their hunting sites were not adequately protected by existing forest harvesting guidelines.
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