Friday, 19 September 2008

We're famous! Not really. :p

Jen Schmidt, a researcher closely associated with my lab, made it into the newspaper just today. It was based on her presentation at the AAAS meeting. The data she presented showed that harvest levels were apparently stable. Here's the abstract, from the conference:
Moose (Alces alces) are an integral part of the boreal forest ecosystem and moose hunting within Alaska supports a subsistence lifestyle and recreation for residents and nonresidents alike. Understanding both past and current moos trends in moose hunting is vital to effective wildlife management. Moose management decisions not only moose population dynamics, but also the people who depend on moose and many facets of the ecosystem. By analysing trends in moose hunting, wildlife managers can better predict the results of moose management decisions in Alaska. Analysis of these trends increases knowledge of how harvest strategies will influence population dynamics such as sex-ratio and bull-to-cow ratio. Analysis of moose harvest tags returned to Alaska Department of Fish and Game (1990 to 2006) indicated an overall successful moose hunters travel farther than unsuccessful. There was also increase in hunts that use 3 or 4 wheelers and airboats and a decrease in the use of horse/sled dogs. We could also detect spatial changes in areas hunted and success rates. Also, transportation significantly influences success. An improved understanding of trends in moose hunting may improve the social relationship between wildlife managers and hunters by predicting where hunter education and information are needed. A cordial relationship results in higher hunter compliance and satisfaction, benefiting both sides. Overall, results presented here will allow for more proactive and adaptable wildlife management with beneficial results for moose, the boreal forest ecosystem, and those who depend on the land.

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