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School of Forestry, University of Montana

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Elk (Cervus elaphus) have been a major consideration in forest management in the western United States. Other ungulate species that are sympatric with elk, such as Shiras moose (Alces alces shirasi), have often received less management consideration. We studied a moose population in the Garnet Mountains of west-central Montana from 1997 to 2000, to learn more about moose habitat preferences. At the same time, we capitalized on elk data collected in a portion of the moose study area from 1993,...1996, so that moose and elk habitat use could be o compared. Logistic regression was used to model moose and elk habitat selection. We also used Bonferonni confidence interval tests to look at how moose used forest disturbance classes, and how moose and elk responded to roads and varying amounts of forest cover. Moose were found 0 nearer riparian areas, and elk were found further from riparian areas, than expected. Some moose showed strong selection for clearcuts and bums that were greater than 15 years old. Moose showed seasonal avoidance of roads while elk avoided roads yearlong. Large blocks of forest cover, a feature considered desirable for elk security during the hunting season, received substantial use by moose, but were uses less than expected by moose as the size of these areas increased. Survey results, seasonal observability, calf production, and mortality of radio-collared moose are also reported.


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