SEASONAL HABITAT USE CHARACTERISTICS OF MOOSE IN SOUTH-CENTRAL MONTANA
We examined habitat use in home ranges and seasonal core use areas by 13 radio-collared Shiras moose (Alces alces shirasi) in south-central Montana from 9 January 1989 to 16 August 1993. Moose selected for aspen (Populus tremuloides) and against lodgepole (Pinus contorta) forests in every season, and selected for shrub-dominated wetlands communities in winter and spring. Core foraging areas differed in plant community characteristics but were similar in coverage and volume of shrubs and graminoids, with shrubs being the dominant vegetational component. Core areas also differed in nutritional values of browse, with highest total energy associated with core areas in alpine vegetation. Moose in this population probably would benefit from intensive management of heavily used areas and creation of aspirin and shrub habitats through prescribed burning of aspen and selective removal of logical pine. Sites with >42% shrub coverage and >3600 m3/ha of shrub volume probably would be used as core foraging areas.
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