Moose Management In B.C.

Moose are found throughout B.C. and are an essential component in the ecological balance between predator and prey.  A coordinated effort, involving the Provincial Management Technical Team, with input provided by the Provincial Hunting and Trapping Advisory Team as well as the B.C. Wildlife Federation and B.C. Guide Outfitters Association, has resulted in a comprehensive framework for sustainable population management of the species.

Moose are an important hunted species for all residents of B.C. and are culturally significant to First Nations people, as well as provide a vital economic benefit to the Guiding Industry.  Hunter surveys collected in 2013, from across the province, have recorded substantially lower harvest levels than have been historically documented.  As a result, the Ministry has embarked on developing a provincial framework for a sustainable moose management plan that will seek to identify the factors that may be contributing to those significant declines in B.C.’s moose herd, and develop recommendations to address the current situation.

With that objective in mind, the plan recommends a regional moose management strategy throughout the province which will provide the necessary guidance for moose management, and provide a template for preparing the various local plans, based on scientific evidence.  The overarching goal for each of each of the plans is to ensure that healthy populations of moose are maintained throughout their natural range, which meet the needs of Licensed Hunters, the B.C. Guiding Industry and First Nations alike.

Several objectives, as outlined within the framework for moose management in B.C, refer to ensuring healthy populations in sufficiently high numbers, so as to offer a diversity of hunting opportunities while maintaining a sustainable balance between demand and supply.  The strategies employed must follow provincial policies and procedures and encourage the development of regional moose management plans, where necessary.

The framework emphasizes the need to develop stewardship plans based on regional conditions that consider local priorities and demands, and that are supported by scientific evidence.  It is critical that each of the groups impacted and governed by the resulting moose management plans participate in the development of those plans, and that the decision making structure be transparent as well as describe the consequences of implementing the different management options, presented by the various competing interests.

Although there are several potential management tools available to wildlife managers, attempting to protect and increase sustainable and healthy moose populations, as they strive to balance all the various priorities, only two are available and practical in the short term.  Those two tools are Hunting Regulations and Access Management.  Adjusting harvest levels for moose and limiting access by designating areas closed to vehicular traffic can be effective, however, they may not be the most effective.  Other potential wildlife management tools include Agreements with First Nations, Predator Management and Habitat Enhancement and Protection.  These additional tools involve more complex considerations arising from the cumulative effects introduced by resource management and its impact.

It is also very important not to become so focused on managing for moose, at the exclusion of other equally important wildlife species, such as Mountain Caribou.  Attempts have been made, on an experimental basis, in some areas of B.C, to reduce wolf densities, which severely impact Mountain Caribou populations.

Decision making, as it relates to wildlife management, has evolved over the past 20 years, and where traditionally, management was focused on the scientific information gathered and analyzed by biologists and other experts, a shift to involving stake holders with practical knowledge, has gained importance.  The resulting Structured Decision Making (SDM) process is a common-sense approach, which recognizes the integration of scientific, socioeconomic and other technical analyses.  Implementation of this inclusive philosophy, has proven to be a useful tool, which is leading to greater involvement by all stakeholders, and resulting in improved wildlife management decisions in British Columbia.

  • Source Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations. February 2015. Provincial Framework for Moose Management in British Columbia. Available at : [Accessed 03/2021].