DNR surveys core range of moose population despite warming trend

MARQUETTE — The Department of Natural Resources was not able to complete the winter 2016-2017 moose survey, causing officials to be unable to estimate moose abundance throughout the entirety of the western U.P. moose range.

Officials were able to get the core portion of the moose range completed by mid-January but due to a warming trend, the survey was not able to be completed outside of the core range. This core area typically contains between 80 and 90 percent of the moose, knowing this will assist officials with having any idea on the current state of the population.

One challenge that can be presented with flying surveys from the air is not being able to see every moose. DNR officials have developed the sight-ability correction model to aid in this process.

“That sight ability model is based on group sizes we see and the amount of obstruction when we observe a moose. Whether we are looking through heavy conifers or looking through northern hardwoods. Until we get into the data and see these moose to see what kind of conditions, we don’t know how that correction factor will play out in this year’s estimate,” said Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Research Biologist, Dean Beyer.

This survey is conducted every two years, with the next one being set for 2019. An abundance estimate of the core range in the Western U.P. will be released sometime this summer.