REACTION OF MOOSE (ALCES ALCES) TO SNOWMOBILE TRAFFIC IN THE GREYS RIVER VALLEY, WYOMING
Understanding how human activities influence wildlife populations is increasingly important as recreational demands on critical habitat increase. We studied the effects of snowmobile traffic on wintering moose (Alces alces) in the Greys River drainage, Wyoming from January through February, 1994. Based on 736 moose-hours of direct observations on large willow flats, (6 females, 8 males, and 3 juveniles) were active 41.7% and inactive 58.3% of the observation time. Bedding activity lasted on average 118.7 min (range: 1-444 min) and feeding averaged 32.1 min (range: 1-274 min). Standing, walking, and running occurred frequently only for short periods of time, less than 7 min on average. Moose bedding within 300 m and feeding within 150 m of passing snowmachines altered their behavior in response to the disturbance. The frequency of snowmobile traffic did not seemingly affect the average percent of moose active, or the number of moose present in the study areas. Moose appeared to move away from the active snowmobile trail as the day progressed. Consequently, snowmobile traffic, although it did not appear to alter moose activity significantly, did influence the behavior of moose positioned within 300 m of a trail and did displace moose to less favorable habitats.
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