BULL MOOSE BEHAVIOR AND MOVEMENTS IN RELATION TO HARVEST ON THE KENAI NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE
The movements, behavior, and mortality patterns of bull moose (Alces alces) were examined to evaluate moose harvest strategies on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Seven radiocollared adult bull moose where aerially located 242 times from November 1980, to September 1983. Four migratory bulls had larger home ranges (165 km2) and different movement patterns than three bulls that were residents (59 km2) in early successional stage forest. All were legally harvested by hunters in early succession stage forest where they had been tagged within three years. Migratory bulls that traveled into early successional stage forest to breed lived longer (x=6.5 years) then resident bulls (x=4 years) because they were generally in remote locations and thicker cover during the September 1-20 bull-only hunting season. Bull moose behavior and movement patterns changed with the onset of the rut in mid-September. This made them particularly susceptible to harvest because moose moved into open areas and formed larger groups. High hunter accessibility and hunting pressure in early succession stage forest lowered the average age of bulls and modified the moose population composition to below 20 bulls/100 cows despite an expanding moose population. Hunting seasons in early September concentrated harvest on resident moose near roads, while hunting after September 15 harvested both resident and migratory moose and impacted moose over a much larger area.
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