GOABC Wildlife Stewardship: An Action Plan for the Moose

In 2009, the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC) published an action plan for moose for their Wildlife Stewardship Series.

The GOABC was initially established in 1966. Presently, there are over 200 licensed guide outfitters in British Columbia, employing over 2000 people. Communities in rural areas profit from the guide outfitting industry, which has a rich tradition of sustainable hunting practices while maintaining a long-term mindset on wildlife management.

BC is home to a variety of big game species including moose, which are a valued resource and an important part in Canadian northwest’s wildlife heritage. That’s why GOABC hosted a Wildlife Stewardship Series workshop for moose in order to increase local knowledge on the topic and to enhance moose management for the future. Guide outfitters, wildlife managers and biologists were involved.

Moose are the largest species of the deer family and the bulls are known for their gigantic palmated antlers. They are herbivores, needing up to 20 kg of vegetation each day that consists of leaves, shrubs, bark and submerged pond weeds. However, a lack of food may cause increased adult/juvenile mortality and decreased reproductive rates. Cow moose usually start breeding as 2-year olds, and although young bulls are sexually active, prime bulls are preferred, which reflects a healthy age-class structure. Moose live solitarily, migrating between familiar summer and winter ranges.

The document is structured in approaching several topics concerning moose and their value, harvest management, inventory, human-caused mortality and predation. Each topic is explained, the main issue is shortly summarized and recommendations on how to improve the situations are listed.

The recommendations include educating the users and resource ministries with land-use plans and managing the hunt on moose more thoroughly, as logging roads facilitated an easier access for hunters into habitats. A commitment to the North American Wildlife Conservation Model was proposed, which would help outlining the management principles and stipulating that law and science should be the cornerstones for wildlife management.

As First Nations are not obligated to document their moose harvesting and resident recreational hunters sample card data can be manipulated, the goal is to motivate these groups to submit their data collections, enabling scientists to get a wider view on the moose situation in different areas. In addition to this, it is explained that guide outfitters can play an important role as “on the ground” surveyors.

Hunting should also be regulated by current moose supply rather than existing rules. Due to the increased percentage of yearling spike-fork moose, there would be no harm if their harvest was regulated in certain areas instead of being banned.

Black bear harvest should be augmented, as they are responsible for up to 50% of moose calf mortality; grizzly bears also take a big part in calf mortality. The development of a wolf management plan was suggested, as wolves are a big cause of adult moose death. However, controlling the increase of wolves may not be easy as they are a difficult species to hunt.

Furthermore, the project draws attention to the huge number of vehicle and train caused moose deaths, collaborating with the University of Northern British Columbia, the Ministry of Environment, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, developing preventative measures to reduce train/moose and vehicle/moose collisions.

The recommendations listed are a conglomeration of expert opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect the wishes of GOABC. They were developed to help local biologists and wildlife managers to improve moose management in British Columbia.

  • Source Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia. November 2009. Wildlife Stewardship SERIES IV. Moose – Preparing for the Future : An Action Plan for the Moose. Available at : https://www.goabc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/WSS4-Moose.pdf [Accessed 03/2021].