Moose Study Continues in Light of Population Decline

By Beacon Staff

State wildlife researchers darted and captured seven cow moose in the eastern stretch of the Cabinet Mountains south of Libby this week and fitted them with radio collars as part of an ongoing research project.

According to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Research Technician Jesse Newby, biologists are looking at disease load and other measures of the animals’ health, reproductive rates, and calf survival for the collared moose. This brings the total to 16 moose that are radio-collared in the East Cabinets area.

Hunters in the East Cabinets consistently harvest 15-25 moose annually, and concerns about shrinking moose populations have led to a study on disease, parasites, predation, lack of logging, and poor habitat.

FWP is conducting the moose study in light of decreasing moose populations and declining hunter opportunity. Biologists are working to capture additional moose in each of two other study areas that are part of the long-term research effort, the Big Hole and the East Front of the Rockies.

“This is the continuation of a long term research effort to learn more about Montana moose ecology,” says Region One Wildlife Manager Jim Williams. “Another important aspect of the work is to refine our moose survey techniques to better reflect moose population trends.”

FWP contracted with Quicksilver, a helicopter-based team from Alaska, to capture the moose. Plum Creek Timber Inc. provided a helicopter to aid in spotting moose for the Quicksilver team.

“Good wildlife and good forest management often go hand in hand,” says Plum Creek biologist Lorin Hicks. “We share a common goal to find out more about how moose use forested habitats.”

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