RECENT OCCUPATION OF THE ALBERTA ASPEN PARKLAND ECOREGION BY MOOSE
Recent occurrence, population trends, productivity and management were documented for a relatively new and expanding population of moose (Alces alces) in the Alberta Aspen Parkland Ecoregion (AAP). Observations of moose were first recorded in the western portions of the AAP during aerial inventories for deer during winter 1973/74. Over the next 10-17 years, moose migrated 100 - 175 km eastward, being first observed in eastern Wildlife Management Units (WMU’s) by 1983 and 1991. For 6 WMUs, where data were available, the mean density at time of initial observation was very low (0.03/km2; range 0 .01 - 0.04 km2 of surveyed habitat. For the same WMUs and techniques, inventories conducted during 1992-93 - 1995-96 estimated mean densities of 0.18/km2 (range 0.09 - 0.30 km 2). Productivity was high. Sex/age proportions were 86 calves and 40 bulls/100 cows (n = 267) for moose with no hunting season. Between 1982 and 1994, 957 public complaints related to moose were registered in 3 Alberta Fish and Wildlife District offices central to moose habitat in the AAP. There was a trend toward increasing complaints in later years. Overall, 48% of complaints were related to road-killed moose or other accidents/mishaps, 35% were related to illegal or legal hunting activities, 13% were related to property damage, and 4% were related to other factors including native hunting and sightings of moose. In response to public concerns about increasing moose populations, limited entry hunts for antlered or antlered and antlerless moose were implemented in 22 of 33 WMU's in the AAP between 1986 and 1996.
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