HUNTING PRESSURE AND RATE OF INCREASE OF A MOOSE POPULATION AT A DENSITY BELOW CARRYING CAPACITY
From 1980 to 1984, 54,000 hunting days were spent and a total of 758 moose (Alces alces americana) were harvested within 5 experimental blocks ranging from 539 – 1,257 km2. Those blocks were located in central Québec between 45 – 150 km north of Trois-Rivières. A block of 544 km2 was added to monitor a moose population in the absence of hunting. Hunting pressure was unequally distributed within the 5 blocks (0.7 – 6 hunting days/km2), whereas hunting effort (hunting days / capture) ranged from 21-115 during the same period. The relationship between finite rate of increase (λ) of moose populations, derived from aerial moose counts conducted at the beginning and at the end of the study, and hunting pressure, led us to observe that the moose population began to decrease when hunting pressure exceeded 2.8 hunting days/km2, but it increased at a rate of 21% without hunting pressure. A negative correlation also existed between hunting pressure and the mean age of moose harvested.
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