Ministry of Natural Resources’ biologists once again are taking to the skies this winter to track moose populations.
Moose aerial inventory surveys are conducted each year in selected Wildlife Management Units across the province, including WMU 12A in Fort Frances District, WMU 7A/7B in Kenora District, and WMU 8 in Dryden District.
The standardized surveys are conducted on a multi-year sampling basis to allow ministry biologists to track trends in the population.
Ontario is conducting research to help guide future moose management decisions, as well as to maintain healthy moose populations and associated benefits.
To help attain precise estimates of moose populations, MNR biologists strive to complete the surveys before the animals take to heavier conifer tree cover, typically in the latter half of February.
Survey flights are scheduled to occur between mid-December and mid-February, and when the necessary snow and weather conditions permit.
The surveys most frequently are conducted by a team of four—a pilot, navigator, and two observers—who fly a number of parallel routes on a two-and-a-half by 10-km survey plot.
The number of plots varies by survey and the size of the WMU, but typically range between 20 and 40 plots per survey.
The MNR also gathers information on moose population trends by surveying hunters.
Each fall, provincial postcard surveys poll a random sample of hunters to ask for their input on what they observed and/or harvested during their hunt.
Hunters polled still have time to send back their completed provincial postcard surveys.
Ministry biologists use the postcard survey information to assist in determining annual tag quotas for each WMU.
There are roughly one million moose in North America. Recently, Ontario’s moose population has ranged between 105,000-110,000 animals.
More information on the MNR’s moose management is available at ontario.ca/moosereview