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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Two Moose surveys in the lower Kenai Peninsula in Alaska reveals that Moose are holding there own there, estimated to be up a couple of hundred animals from 2010(3200 today versus 2900 in 2010).................However, in the upper Peninsula, including Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the Moose count slipped from roughly 2000 animals to some 1600 today................It all goes back to quality of habitat up North(no white tail deer spreading brain disease and winter temps still cold enough to knock out winter tick infestations)..................The problem in the upper Kenai is too much mature alder trees that are too high for the Moose to browse on.............the historical fire regimine that would create lush new browse for the Moose no longer exists due to human development and fire suppression..............Human induced forestry practices that mimic fire regeneration will be needed for the Moose to once again grow their numbers there

Moose population healthy, bulls recovering

Michael Armstrong;

At the March 12 meeting of the Homer Fish and Game Advisory Committee, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists spoke about recent composition and census studies for moose in Game Management Unit subarea 15C, the area south of Tustumena Lake.
This winter, researchers did two moose studies. First, they did an aerial survey in November, before bull moose dropped antlers, to get an idea of the size classes of moose. Moose were classified as cows and then bulls according to antler size. That gave biologists a good estimate of the percentages of bulls with spike antlers, antlers with a spike that forks, antlers less than 50 inches wide and antlers greater than 50 inches wide. The important number is the ratio of bulls to cows. Under Fish and Game management objectives, the goal is 15 bulls to 100 cows. This year, area 15C had 22 bulls to 100 cows.
In a second survey for the census, researchers estimate the total number of moose in an area. To do that they set up grids and do an initial fly over to get an idea of moose concentrations. They count moose in low- and high-concentration areas and then come up with a proportion estimate. Biologists looked at moose in their winter range where browse wasn't totally buried by deep snow.
As Kenai-based Fish and Game biologist Jeff Sellinger described the census area, unit 15C is basically a big hill spreading down toward Cook Inlet and Kachemak Bay, with the river and creek drainages the winter habitat.
Using those proportion results, researchers then surveyed the whole area and came up with a total estimate of moose.
"We know we don't count every moose out there on the landscape," said Jason Herreman, a Fish and Game moose biologist, at the Homer advisory committee meeting.
The estimate of 3,204 moose this year is up from the 2010 estimate of 2,900 moose.
"Which is a nice increase," Herreman said. "That puts us well within our intensivemanagement goal."
Under intensive-management guidelines adopted by the Board of Game, the moose population is managed for food and human consumption. For 15C, the intensive-management objective is 2,500-3,000 moose, with a harvest between 200 and 350 moose.
In the 2011 and 2012 hunting seasons, hunting of immature bulls — those with spikes or spikes and forks and smaller racks — was reduced to increase the bull:cow moose ratio, resulting in few bulls hunted. With better ratios, the Homer advisory committee and Fish and Game recommended to the Board of Game that the hunting of smaller bulls with single spikes be allowed again.
They also recommended changing the hunting season from Aug. 20-Sept. 20 to Sept. 1 to Sept. 20. That would allow time for antlers on bull moose to more fully develop and thus be easier for hunters to identify. At its recent meeting, the Board of Game agreed to allow the spike-fork bull hunt, but didn't change the season.
Sellinger said the composition counts were better than Fish and Game biologists projected after the 2011 restrictions on spike and spike-fork hunting.
"We increased a little steeper than we projected with the model," he said.
The situation for area 15A, the upper peninsula, which includes the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, isn't as good. Biologists counted 1,600 moose, down from 2008 estimates of from 1,825 to 2,352 moose. The problem in that area is too much of the same kind of browse, mostly mature alder trees too high for the moose to reach.
"It's pretty obvious why we're sitting where we are," Herreman said. "We've got monotypic stands of old trees. That's something we need to work on in 15A."
What would help is a big fire. As biologists said — joking — they're still advertising for fires. The challenge is that fires of the magnitude needed also would threaten development that has grown since huge fires in 1947 and 1969.
Researchers said the recent census and other studies were the best that have been done on the Kenai Peninsula.
"They're as good as we can get," Sellinger said.
"We were pretty happy with how effective the survey was," Herreman added.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at

2012-2013 Moose surveys
Game Management Unit Area 15 C
Lower Kenai Peninsula south of Tustumena Lake November 2012 composition study Survey moose to get percentages of moose by sex, size
Calves: 14 percent
Spike-fork bulls: 16 percent
Greater than spike-fork bull: 23 percent
Less than 50-inch antlers: 54 percent
Greater than 50-inch antlers: 7 percent
Bull-cow ratio: 22 bulls:100 cows
2010 Bull-cow ratio: 9 bulls:100 cows
Management objective: 15 bulls:100 cows
February 2013 population census
Survey moose to get population estimates
2013 census: 3,204 moose
2010 census: 2,900 moose
Moose per square mile: 2.9
Moose per square mile, winter range (below 1,200 feet): about 3.9 to 4 moose per square mile
Hunter killed moose,
2010: 220
2011: 25
2012: 25
Number of hunters
2010: 1,206
2011: 405
2012: 305
Road kill moose, 15C
2009-10 winter: 51
2010-11 winter: 46
2011-12 winter: 53
2012-13 winter: N/A incomplete data

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