UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A preliminary study of the moose (Alces and alces andersoni Peterson) in northern Manitoba, with special reference to its management Bryant, Joseph Edward


A study of the history, numbers, distribution, utilization, habitat, and economic importance of moose in Manitoba north of the 53rd parallel, was commenced in the spring of 1951 and continued for three of the following four years. In the past 200 years moose have advanced their range from the 55th parallel and 97th meridian to the northern and eastern limits of the boreal forest. The advance is considered to have been part of a "normal" post-glacial movement accelerated by the concurrent extension of range of the Cree Indians which increased the number of fire-produced openings in the forest. Limited aerial censuses and ground counts by trappers showed few areas with more than 1 moose per square mile, but a number of isolated blocks with up to 1 moose per five square miles. Adult sex ratios approached 1:1 in most areas where both sexes were hunted. Calf:cow ratios approached 1:1 in the trappers' censuses and .5:1 in the aerial censuses. It is believed that the true ratio probably lies near .75:1. Utilization by man varied between 6 percent and 20 percent of the reported populations in the Indian sections and between 2 percent and 12 percent in other areas. In most areas the human kill was not excessive but was poorly distributed in time and space, and took too many calves. Wolf predation has probably been a limiting factor in the recent past but a government poisoning program has now eliminated the significance of this factor. Accidental death through drowning takes a fairly large annual toll. Parasitism, and disease are not considered significant. Good habitat is mainly dependent upon fire-produced openings in the coniferous forests and study of the practicability of controlled burning and clear-cutting is suggested. A major limiting factor for moose is believed to be lack of variety of browse species. The economic value of moose is placed at $384,000 annually, divided between Indians and non-Indians in the proportion of 3.8:1. Suggestions for the management of moose in remote and accessible areas are given.

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