Moose Surveys and Subsistence Users

By Pat Owen (last updated 2015)
a mother moose and her two calves graze on flowers

NPS Photo / Kent Miller

In 2013, moose surveys were conducted in two areas of the park important to subsistence users.

A full census was conducted in the Cantwell area which means that all survey units in the study area were counted. The Cantwell survey was conducted from November 11 and 12, 2013. Snow conditions were excellent throughout the survey area. A total of 66 units were surveyed which comprised 395 mi2 of study area.

We observed 360 moose. The calf:bull:cow ratio was 15:53:100. Calves, bulls, and cows represented 9%, 31%, and 60% of the population, respectively. Of the total cow moose counted, 85.5% of cows were without calves, 14% of cows had 1 calf, and 0.5% of cows had 2 calves present. Overall moose density was 0.91 moose/mi2).

The Yentna survey was conducted from November 29 and December 2, 2013. High winds resulted in grounding the operation for the days in between the actual survey days. Snow conditions were generally good throughout the survey area. A total of 32 units were surveyed which comprised 197 mi2 (27%) of the total study area.

We observed 111 moose during the survey and estimated 179 + 106 moose for the entire survey area. The calf:bull:cow ratio was 33:52:100. Calves, bulls, and cows represented 18%, 28%, and 54% of the estimated population, respectively. We estimated that 75% of cows were without calves, 17% of cows had 1 calf, and 8% of cows had 2 calves present. Overall estimated moose density was 0.25 moose/mi2.

Denali was scheduled to conduct an extensive north side survey in Fall 2014. The survey area covers all areas within the park on the north side of the Alaska Range Mountains. This survey is Denali’s contribution to Central Alaska Monitoring Network moose monitoring and is funded every three years. Unfortunately, snow conditions were not adequate to conduct the survey. Plans are to request funding to conduct the survey in Fall 2015.