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Illegal moose kill in Northeastern Ontario: 1997-2002.

ABSTRACT: Conservation Officers found 793 illegally killed moose in the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Northeast Region during the period of 1997- 2002. Of these illegally killed moose, 365 were abandoned. The majority of abandoned moose were a result of illegal harvesting, as 68% of all abandoned moose had signs of positive human interaction with the carcass. Three hundred and twenty moose (40%) spoiled and were unsuitable for human consumption. Bulls were illegally killed at a significantly higher proportion, and calves at a significantly lower proportion, than their respective availability in the herd structure. Cow moose are illegally killed proportional to their availability. Illegal moose kills were positively and significantly correlated with moose populations, the number of applicants for adult validation tags, and the number of hunters checked by Conservation Officers. The illegal moose kill has both an immediate and a long-term impact on the regional herd population. An estimated 613 moose were not recruited into the regional herd as a result of illegal harvesting. Moose Watch, a program to reduce the region's illegal moose kill was initiated in 2000, and was expanded province-wide in 2001. A toll-free 24-hour violation reporting line was established, and received 387 calls over 3 years regarding illegal hunting violations for a wide variety of wildlife species. During the 6 years, Conservation Officers in the region contacted over 108,000 hunters, issued 3,064 warnings, and laid 2,580 charges while conducting moose hunt enforcement duties.

Keywords: Alces, illegal kill, Moose Watch, poaching

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Based on a perceived increase in the number of illegally killed and abandoned moose (Alces alces) in the mid 1990s, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) Conservation Officers began data collection in Northeastern Ontario. Initial data collection was started in 1995, and became standardized across the Northeast Region (NER) in 1997.

The objective of this initiative was to collect intelligence on the distribution and impact of the illegal harvest of moose, and to deliver a planned enforcement response to deal with the problem. In 2000, the NER developed and launched the "Moose Watch 2000" program. This program was aimed at reducing the illegal moose kill through public awareness, a 24-hour toll-free violation reporting line, and increased enforcement effort. The Moose Watch program was expanded provincially in 2001.

The focus of this report is on the number of illegally killed and abandoned moose throughout the region from 1997-2002.

STUDY AREA

The NER is a large (441,122 [km.sup.2]) and diverse land base, comprised of a variety of geographic and physiological features. It extends from the north shores of Lake Huron and Lake Superior to the James Bay and Hudson Bay Lowlands (Fig. 1). There are 2 forest regions located within the NER, the Boreal Forest in the northern portion of the region and the Great Lakes--St. Lawrence Forest in the south (Hosie 1979). Boreal Forest tree species are of tire origin, consisting of white spruce (Picea glauca), black spruce (Picea mariana), jack pine (Pinus banksiana), balsam fir (Abies balsamea), white birch (Betula papyrifera), and trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides). The Great Lakes--St. Lawrence forest is comprised of conifers such as red pine (Pinus resinosa), white pine (Pinus strobus), eastern white cedar (Thuja occidentalis), and tolerant hardwoods such as red maple (Acer rubrum), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), and red oak (Quercus rubra).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Within the region, there are 9 OMNR Districts--Chapleau, Cochrane, Hearst, Kirkland Lake, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins, and Wawa (Fig. 1). There are 5-10 Conservation Officers stationed in each district, and they patrol 28 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), including some that are extremely remote with little to no road access. Most WMUs have a moose archery season commencing from the Saturday closest to September 17 to the third following Friday, and a firearm season over the period from the Saturday closest to October 8 to November 15. Three WMUs have extended firearms seasons until December 15.

METHODS

Conservation Officers patrolling in the region collected data on illegal moose kills from 1997-2002. All unlawfully killed and all abandoned moose encountered were classified as illegally killed moose.

Standardized data report sheets were completed for each illegal kill and included information on age/sex, whether the moose was seized or abandoned, date of kill, and general comments regarding the moose. When abandoned moose were encountered, indications of human interaction with the carcass were recorded in order to estimate the number of abandoned moose that may be a result of wounding mortality. Human interaction with moose carcasses included gutting, concealment, and location of kill in relation to roads or waterways. Wildlife Management Unit data have been collected for each illegally killed moose since 1998. Only verified kill data were used, meaning that if a Conservation Officer "didn't see it or didn't touch it" the data were not included. The data in this report are considered to be a conservative estimate of illegally killed moose for the NER.

In order to determine the impacts on herd recruitment in the NER, a population model was designed using the age/sex structure of the illegal kill, a low in-utero productivity rate (0.95), and an annual mortality rate of 10% (G. Eason, V. Crichton, personal communication). This model produces conservative estimates. Moose population estimates in each WMU were obtained from the OMNRs "Ontario Moose Harvest Planning System" computer program. The number of adult validation tags (AVTs) issued to hunters for harvesting bull and cow moose were obtained from copies of "Ontario Hunting Regulation Summary" for 1997-2002.

Enforcement statistics were derived from the OMNRs "Compliance Activity Violation Reporting System" (CAVRS) computer program. This program is utilized by all Conservation Officers to record their enforcement efforts, violation statistics, and violator information. A standard calculation of non-compliance rates was used (number of charges + number of warnings / field contacts).

Statistical analysis of illegal harvest data included correlation analysis and for availability--utilization analysis, a chi-square goodness-of-fit test and a Bonferroni z-test were used (Neu et al. 1974, Byers et al. 1984). Regression analysis was completed using the number of hunters contacted by Conservation Officers and the number of illegally killed moose to produce an estimate of the total number of illegally killed moose.

The Moose Watch program promotional efforts were initiated through the production of posters, violation reporting cards, pens and pencils, and licence holders imprinted with the Moose Watch logo and the violation reporting line number (1-866-34 MOOSE). In the 3 years of operation, 10,000 each of posters, contact cards, pens and licence holders were distributed across the province to hunters and the general public through businesses or places of employment, field contacts, outdoors shows, and presentations. Moose Watch was promoted in the "Ontario Hunting Regulation Summary" and all AVT holders were shipped a Moose Watch promotion note with their tags.

During the period of September 15--December 15, media releases and inter views were held with television, radio, and newspaper reporters promoting the program and releasing enforcement statistics. Public service announcements were prepared and were run by radio and television stations. News releases dealing with convictions as a result of the Moose Watch program were released to all media sources.

Ministry of Natural Resources enforcement staff located at the Provincial Coordination Centre (PCC) in Sault Ste. Marie answered all calls to the Moose Watch violation line. All Conservation Officers in the province report at the start of their shift to the PCC, and PCC staff are able to pass violation complaints to on-duty officers or to the next officer starting their shift in the district from where the complaint was received. The traditional partnership with Crime Stoppers (a North American wide violation reporting system) has been maintained, and allows for anonymous violation reporting by those that choose to do so.

RESULTS

Unlawful Trends

There were 793 verified illegally killed moose in the NER over the period of 1997 -2002, of which 46% were abandoned (Table 1). Wawa district had the highest illegal kill and the highest rate of abandonment each year since 1997. Six districts (Chapleau, Kirkland Lake, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, and Wawa) accounted for 78% of all illegal kills in the NER. Abandonment rates were also highest in those districts as well. Illegal moose kills in the NER peaked in the 1999 hunt, declined in 2000 and 2001, and rebounded in 2002.

Abandoned moose declined in the NER from 1997-1998, remained relatively constant from 1999-2001, and increased in 2002 to levels initially observed in 1997 (Table 2). Of the 365 abandoned moose, 251 (68%) showed positive signs of human interaction with the carcass. There was a strong, but not significant (P > 0.05), correlation between the number of abandoned moose and the number having human interaction (r = 0.78, tabular value = 0.811,4 df) Conservation Officers located 114 abandoned moose with no signs of human interaction. A total of 320 abandoned moose spoiled, resulting in approximately 64,000 kg of meat becoming unsuitable for human consumption (assuming 200 kg meat/moose).

Wildlife Management Units

The total estimated moose population in the 28 WMUs steadily increased over the study period (Fig. 2), although the moose populations in WMUs 35 and 36 steadily declined over the 5 years. The illegal kill in each of the WMUs was significantly correlated (P < 0.05, tabular value = 0.374, 26 df) to the population in the WMUs for 1998 (r = 0.587), 2001 (r = 0.548), and 2002 (r = 0.413) (Table 3). The illegal moose kill was significantly correlated to the number of hunter applicants (Pool 1--Choice 1) who applied for AVTs in WMUs in 1998 (r = 0.761), 2000 (r = 0.510), 2001 (r = 0.547), and 2002 (r = 0.503). The illegal moose kill was significantly correlated to the number of AVTs issued for only 2 years, 1998 (r = 0.554) and 2001 (r = 0.479). Illegal kill data were not collected on a WMU basis in 1997.

The illegal moose kill in 7 WMUs (21B, 28, 29, 32, 35, 36, and 41) accounted for 50% of the NER verified illegal kill from 1998-2002. Five of these WMUs (28, 29, 35, 36, and 41) have the major urban centres of Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, and North Bay located in or adjacent to these respective units. Four WMUs (21 B, 28, 29, 41)have the highest average moose populations, available AVTs, and AVT applicants. Of interest, WMU 32 had 49 illegal kills over the 5-year period. This WMU has 63% of its total area (11,424 [km.sup.2]) closed to hunting by the Chapleau Crown Game Preserve, resulting in a high illegal kill confined to a relatively small geographic area.

In making AVT decisions for each WMU, a 10% non-hunt mortality estimate is used to account for losses to predation, disease, accidents, lawful harvest by aboriginal people, and illegal kill. Annual illegal kills do not exceed the 10% threshold in any WMU; however, these kills constitute the only verified component of the non-hunt mortality estimate.

Illegal Kill Structure

Based on aerial survey data for the NER over the study period, the regional moose herd structure is comprised of 33% bulls, 48% cows, and 19% calves. The structure of the illegal moose kill has remained constant and with 1 exception (cows 2001), has not fluctuated by more than 5% over the period of 1997-2002 (Table 4). Overall, cows constitute 49% of the illegal kill, bulls 40%, calves 7%, and moose that could not be identified 4% (Fig. 3).

The composition of the regional illegal kill is significantly different (P< 0.05) than the regional moose herd structure (Table 5). Using adjusted data for known age and sex ratios, moose were not killed proportional to their availability. Bull moose were illegally killed at a higher proportion than they occurred in the herd structure, and calves were illegally killed at a lower proportion than they occurred in the herd. Cow moose were illegally killed proportional to their availability.

Recruitment Loss

The illegal moose kill has an immediate impact on the NER moose herd, as well as a long-term impact regarding potential recruitment that did not occur. Using a basic but conservative population model, an estimated 613 moose were not recruited into the regional herd over the 6-year period. This would result in a total loss of 1,406 moose in the NER from 1997-2002 (Fig. 4).

Enforcement Effort

Moose enforcement effort by NER Conservation Officers steadily increased from 1997-1999 and peaked in 2000 (the first year of the Moose Watch program) (Table 6). Conservation Officers checked over 108,000 hunters, with the highest number of hunters being checked in 1999. The overall non-compliance rate was 5.2%, with the highest non-compliance rate (6%) occurring in 2000.

Conservation Officers issued 3,064 warnings and laid 2,580 charges while completing field moose enforcement duties during the 6-year period. Penalties assessed through tickets or by the courts as a result of trials amounted to $822,186. Fines are paid into the "Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account" and, along with hunting and fishing licence revenues, are used to fund fish and wildlife management and enforcement programs.

The number of illegally killed moose was positively, but not significantly (P > 0.05, tabular value = 0.811, 4 df) correlated to the number of hours spent in the field by Conservation Officers (r = 0.599). The number of illegally killed moose was positively and significantly (P < 0.05, tabular value = 0.811, 4 df) correlated to the number of hunters contacted by Conservation Officers (r = 0,919), Enforcement effectiveness was assessed by examining the number of hours of enforcement effort and the number of hunters contacted per illegal moose over the 6 years (Fig. 5). The number of hunters contacted per illegal moose was variable, but remained close to the 6-year average of 139 hunters contacted per illegal moose. Enforcement efficiency appeared to be steadily improving over the period of 1997-2001 as a result of increased violation detection, but declined sharply in 2002.

Using the number of illegally killed moose and the number of hunters contacted by Conservation Officers, a regression equation ([r.sup.2] = 0.85, Y = -77.517 + 0.01158 X) was derived. This equation was used with the estimated number of moose hunters in the NER obtained through postcard surveys (1999-2002 data only available, P. Davis, personal communication). The annual illegal moose kill estimate was calculated to range from 557 to 577 (Table 7). Using the average of 139 hunters contacted per illegal moose and the NER projected numbers of moose hunters, the annual illegal kill estimate ranges from 394 to 406. Based on these estimates, Conservation Officers may only be locating 20-40% of all illegally killed moose in the NER.

Moose Watch Program

The Moose Watch violation reporting line received the highest number of calls in 2001, the year when the program was expanded province-wide (Table 8). The NER accounted for 50% of all calls to the violation reporting line in 2001 and 54% of all calls in 2002. Wawa and Sault Ste. Marie districts received the most Moose Watch violation calls in the region.

Over the 3 years that the Moose Watch violation-reporting line was in operation, a total of 392 calls were received (Table 9). Violation reports of illegal or abandoned moose constituted 57% of all calls received, and overall, only 4% of calls received were from hunters reporting that they had killed an animal that they were not licenced for. Calls about illegal night hunting accounted for 7% of violations reported. In the absence of a general OMNR violation reporting line, calls were also received regarding illegal poaching of deer, elk, fish, and turkeys, as well as other resource related infractions.

Calls to the Moose Watch violation reporting line were consistent over the 3 years where the majority of calls provided violation information that did not require an immediate enforcement response. Less than 20% of the calls received were of a nature requiring an immediate response by Conservation Officers.

DISCUSSION

The number of illegally killed moose in the NER is of concern to enforcement staff, wildlife managers, and stakeholders, especially as the numbers in this report are considered to be minimum estimates. Wolfe (1987) broadly defined illegal harvest as the "taking of protected wildlife contrary to conditions prescribed by provincial / state / territorial or federal wildlife statutes", and that most wildlife agencies consider reports of illegal kill by enforcement staff as a minimum estimate. Furthermore, the illegal moose kill has a direct socio-economic impact through reduction of hunting opportunities and lost licensing revenue.

The reduced illegal moose kill in 2000 and 2001 appeared to be a response to the Moose Watch program; however, the 35% increase in verified illegal kills in 2002 indicates an apparent decrease in hunter compliance. A similar trend was observed in north central Ontario in the late 1970s--early 1980s by Timmermann and Gollat (1984) when hunting regulations were changed to prohibit party hunting. Charges laid by Conservation Officers during the moose hunting season declined following the first 2 years of regulation change, and sharply increased in the third year as a result of enforcement efforts and a less cautious approach taken by hunters. Ontario reported high non-compliance during the first year of the moose selective harvest system in 1983 (Wolfe 1987), and the illegal harvest of moose continues to be a serious compliance issue in northeastern Ontario 20 years later.

The high number of abandoned moose is of great concern, and the majority of the NER abandoned moose were killed with unlawful intent, rather than by accident, based on human interaction. In a similar study, Beattie et al. (1980, citing Hardin and Roseberry 1975) reported that 20% of abandoned deer carcasses on the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois had been intentionally abandoned. High abandonment rates of moose offend law abiding hunters and the general public, and resulted in 85 complaints to the Moose Watch violation reporting line. Increased promotion of hunter ethics and increased enforcement effort are required to deter this behavior.

Approximately 1/3 of the NER abandoned moose showed no sign of human interaction, and may be a result of wounding mortality. Moose hunter shooting proficiency was studied by Timmermann (1977) and Buss et al. (1989) and they estimated that potential wounding loss based on shooting exercises at life-sized moose targets by Ontario hunters could be in the magnitude of 25-30%, and close to 40% on moving targets. Wolfe (1987) reported that crippling loss of moose in Ontario was considered to be of moderate concern. It is also possible that these moose were killed as a result of illegal activity. Pursley (1977) observed a 25% wounding mortality rate in unlawfully killed deer in New Mexico. Higher wounding mortality rates have been observed for night hunted deer, ranging from 27% in Manitoba (Bessey 1984) to as high as 50% on Manitoulin Island, Ontario (I. Anderson, personal communication), Little information exists on wounding rates in unlawfully hunted moose; however, it would be reasonable to assume that similar rates as observed in deer would apply to moose.

Illegal harvesting of moose in the NER is a function of moose populations and hunter pressure. The 7 WMUs that comprise 50% of the regional kill are located near urban centres, have high hunter preference, and high competition for available AVTs. Perceived availability of animals is a primary consideration for those that are predicated to unlawfully taking wildlife (Bessey 1984, Glover 1982 as cited by Bessey 1984, Gregorich 1992), Strategic enforcement effort needs to be focussed on these 7 WMUs.

Competition for declining levels of AVTs and opportunities to harvest adult moose may be pressuring some hunters to violate moose hunting regulations. For the 1999 and 2000 hunting seasons, the NER had the highest number of moose hunters in the province, and the second lowest number of AVTs (Bisset 2002). Hunter satisfaction is influenced by the ability to harvest an animal, and in areas with high hunter densities, hunting techniques are selected to avoid losing preferred hunting locations to other hunters (Crete 1987). Hall et al. (1990) found a perception among migratory bird hunting violators that the temptation to violate was enhanced by the belief that more waterfowl were being killed elsewhere along the flyway. These situations lead to increased competition among hunters, and may influence some individuals to take increased risks in order to harvest a moose. Benson (2000) stated that in hunting "Opportunity elicits actions that sometimes would not be considered". In Sweden, where high moose populations and strictly regulated hunting occur (Cederlund and Markgren 1987), losses to poaching are considered to be negligible (Boer 1991). If moose populations and the availability of AVTs increase, the incidence of illegal harvesting of moose may decrease based on an improvement in hunter satisfaction.

The relatively stable sex structure of the NER illegal kill indicates that there is differential vulnerability to poaching. It is reasonable that bull moose constitute a higher than expected percentage of the illegal kill based on their increased availability to hunters resulting from rut and post-rut activity. Calves are under-represented in the illegal kill as all licenced hunters in Ontario can lawfully harvest them in any WMU with an open moose season. Crete (1987) observed that when hunters can choose, vulnerability is determined by hunter preference for "large bulls, small bulls, large cows, small cows, and calves" in decreasing preference. Moose are being killed opportunistically as they become available to poachers. Bessey (1984) assumed that the majority of deer poachers were opportunists who violated hunting legislation when opportunities were presented. The NER data suggest that moose are being killed opportunistically as they are encountered and abandoned if an adult validation tag is not affixed in a reasonable period of time. If the NER illegal moose kill were solely based on cow moose being mistaken for calves, the proportion of cows in the illegal kill would be significantly higher. An assumption may be made that the verified annual illegal kill does not constitute a sustainability issue, as it does not exceed the 10% non-hunt mortality estimate in any WMU. Of all of the contributing non-hunt mortality factors, the only verified data that exists for any of these factors is the illegal moose kill data. Poaching is the only non-hunt mortality factor that is actively managed or only factor that can be reasonably controlled at this time in the NER. Individual WMU moose population models and harvest levels may have to be adjusted in WMUs where known estimates approach or exceed the 10% non-hunt mortality estimate.

There is little information on the impact of illegal kills on moose populations in North America (Wolfe 1987). Illegal kills may have a significant impact on moose populations when combined with other non-hunt mortality factors. Illegal harvest and brainworm (Parelaphostrongylus tenuis) are cited as contributing factors in moose population declines in Nova Scotia (Timmermann 1987). Poaching and collisions were the highest cause of all known moose non-hunt mortality in Maine, Minnesota, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick in 1970, and the illegal kill accounted for an average of 31% of the non-hunt mortality in these jurisdictions (Karns et al. 1974).

The illegal kill has a recruitment impact on the NER moose herd, which will reduce the availability of moose for law-abiding hunters. There are 2 ways of looking at this loss in terms of hunting opportunities. One assumption would be that all illegally harvested moose and recruitment loss constitutes the total loss of opportunities to the hunting community. Wolfe (1987) stated that every illegally killed moose could support an additional 6 resident hunters or 3 non-resident hunters in North America. Using the verified illegal kill and estimated recruitment loss of 1,404 moose being unavailable for lawful harvesting, this would represent a loss of opportunities to 8,424 resident hunters or 4,212 non-resident hunters to hunt within the NER.

The other viewpoint would be that the illegal kill and recruitment would have accrued into the NER moose population and been apportioned to hunters using the current allocation methods. In this example, the verified illegal kill and estimated recruitment loss would represent approximately 240 AVTs over the 6-year period (assuming a planned harvest level of 10% and a 50% success rate of filling an AVT). Each AVT has a multiplier value in terms of hunter opportunities. Provincially, 58% of all hunters apply for AVTs in groups (average group size 4.25), and 42% apply as individuals. These 240 AVTs would have permitted an opportunity for a minimum of 643 individuals to legally hunt an adult moose. As all hunters can harvest calf moose in Ontario, the loss of approximately 175 calves has an extremely high multiplier effect. Regardless of the viewpoint taken, any reduction in illegal harvest would have a compensatory value in reducing the non-hunt mortality estimate for wildlife managers, and allow for an increase in moose hunting opportunities.

Estimates of illegal moose kill fluctuate across North America, ranging from 5-100% of the legal harvest level, with a mean of 30% (Wolfe 1987). Wolfe (1987) reported that Ontario's estimated illegal moose kill was 10% of the legal harvest based on a 1983 questionnaire. Mercer and Manuel (1974) estimated that the illegal moose kill accounted for 5-10% of the moose population in accessible areas of Newfoundland in the early 1970s. Violation simulation studies indicate low detection rates (< 1%) of violations by enforcement staff and low violation reporting rates (< 10%) by the public to enforcement agencies (Vilkitis 1971, Pursley 1977, Bessey 1984, Boxall and Smith 1987). While estimates of the number of violators and the number of illegally killed wildlife using these violation simulations have poor statistical precision, the estimates are useful in that they suggest a higher incidence of illegal kill than previously assumed (Wolfe 1987).

Illegal moose kill estimates documented here are likely overestimated using the regression analysis, as the relationship is probably more curvilinear than linear. However, in the absence of any violation simulation exercises or other substantive estimates in Ontario for illegal moose harvesting, the 2 estimates derived in this report on annual illegal kill provide a baseline on which further testing can be made. Wolfe (1987) states "additional research is necessary to improve means of quantifying the magnitude of illegal kill and of separating out the relative contribution of various components".

Efficiency and effectiveness of wildlife enforcement programs are difficult matters to assess and enhance to ensure violation deterrence and compliance with legislation (Cowles et al. 1979, Bessey 1984, Hall et al. 1990, Gregorich 1992). Hunter compliance with legislation is directly related to favorability of attitude towards the legislation (Bessey 1984). While overall moose hunting non-compliance rates of hunters checked by Conservation Officers are less than 10% in the NER, there are limitations on the relevance of simple compliance estimations (Cowles et al. 1979). This is best illustrated by the 2002 statistics which had the lowest overall non-compliance rate, and a 35% increase in illegal moose kills from the previous year.

Condonation of illegal wildlife harvesting occurs in many jurisdictions across North America (Vilkitis 1971, Bessey 1984, Hall et al. 1990, Gregorich 1992), and can limit the effectiveness of wildlife enforcement. The elimination of public acceptance of illegal wildlife harvesting and the imposition of penalties that are severe enough to provide deterrence are required to reduce the illegal harvest of moose. One of the primary purposes of the Moose Watch program was to increase public and stakeholder awareness, and to provide a general deterrence through their involvement in compliance monitoring and violation reporting. The Moose Watch program has been effective in dealing with illegal harvesting activities and has received close to 400 calls since its inception, especially as other jurisdictions have noted low rates of violation reporting by the public (Vilkitis 1971, Pursley 1977, Bessey 1984, Boxall and Smith 1987). Despite calls that deal with non-enforcement matters or lead officers to investigate occurrences in which no charges are laid, the favorable public response to the program indicates the effectiveness of the promotional program and acceptance by the hunting and non-hunting community.

Efficient enforcement action can be initiated by Conservation Officers investigating timely and accurate complaints. In 2000, the Moose Watch program had a $25,000 budget for initial start up costs and promotional materials. One call to the violation reporting line in October 2000 regarding 2 illegal moose led to the discovery of a third illegal moose, and resulted in the conviction of 6 poachers, fines totaling $34,500 and 29 years of hunting suspensions. This case alone paid for the entire Moose Watch program.

The Moose Watch program is not the panacea for enforcement in the NER, but rather another tool available to Conservation Officers. The illegal moose kill is not uniformly distributed across the NER WMUs, and strategic enforcement initiatives are required in problem districts, including enhanced promotion and education, increased uniformed officer presence, and special investigations. Hall et al. (1990) state that "actions to reduce violations of recreational hunting regulations can be as effective as those that limited commercial hunting". Continued hunter and public support, and adequate and efficient law enforcement presence will be required to reduce the illegal harvesting of moose in the NER.

CONCLUSIONS

Illegal harvesting of moose in the NER is an issue affecting the general public, hunters, wildlife managers, and Conservation Officers. The verified illegal kill of 793 moose from 1997-2002 represents a loss of viewing and hunting opportunities, a recruitment loss to the moose herd, and tarnishes the image of lawful hunters. These verified kills represent a bare minimum number of illegally killed moose and demonstrate a non-compliance issue in localized areas within the NER. The actual level of illegal harvest is not known and modeling systems to determine the appropriate level of enforcement effort to suppress and deter this activity have not been developed. In order to continue reducing the illegal moose kill, stakeholder involvement and effective enforcement actions need to continue in the NER, using a blend of education, promotion, field enforcement, and appropriate penalties for those few that choose to violate.

REFERENCES

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BENSON, D. E. 2000. Hunting ethics and the 6 R's: Relevance, Reasoning, Resources, Respect, Restraint and Responsibility. Pages 78-84 in W.D. Mansell, editor. Proceedings of the 2000 Premier's Symposium on North America's Hunting Heritage, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

BESSEY, K.M. 1984. Analysis of the illegal harvest of white-tailed deer in agro-Manitoba: Implications for program planning and management. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

BISSET, A. 2002. 1999 and 2000 Moose Harvest in Ontario. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Northwest Science and Information. NWSI Technical Report TR-131. Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

BOER, A. 1991. Hunting: A product or tool for wildlife managers? Alces 27:74-78.

BOXALL, P. C, and L. C. SMITH. 1987. Estimates of the illegal harvest of deer in Alberta: A violation simulation study. Occasional Paper #2. Alberta, Forestry, Lands, and Wildlife, Fish and Wildlife Division, Resource Economics and Assessment Section. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Buss, M. E., R. GOLLAT, and H. R. TIMMERMANN. 1989. Moose hunter shooting proficiency in Ontario. Alces 25:98-103.

BYERS, C. R., R. K. STEINHORST, and P. R. KRAUSMAN. 1984. Clarification of a technique for analysis of utilization--availability data. Journal of Wildlife Management 48:1050-1053.

CEDERLUND, G. N., and G. MARKGREN. 1987. The development of the Swedish moose population 1970-1983. Swedish Wildlife Research Supplement 1:55-62.

COWLES, C. J., K. H. BEATTIE, and R. H. GILES JR. 1979. Limitations of wildlife law compliance estimators. Wildlife Society Bulletin 7:188-191.

CRETE, M. 1987. The impact of sport hunting on North American moose. Swedish Wildlife Research Supplement 1:553-563.

GLOVER, R. L. 1982. Characteristics of deer poachers and poaching in Missouri. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA.

GREGORICH, L. J. 1992. Poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife parts in Canada. Canadian Wildlife Federation, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

HALL, D. L., J. G BONNAFFONS, and R. M. JACKSON. 1990. The relationship of enforcement, courts and sentencing to compliance with waterfowl hunting regulations. Journal of Wildlife Law Enforcement 2:1-15.

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--. 1987. Moose harvest strategies in North America. Swedish Wildlife Research Supplement 1:565-579.

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Charlie Todesco

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 1160, Wawa, ON, Canada POS 1KO
Table 1. Illegally killed moose in Northeast Region 1997-2002.

 1997 1998 1999

 ABAN. TOTAL ABAN. TOTAL ABAN. TOTAL

Chapleau 10 12 6 11 6 13
Cochrane 5 7 2 10 0 2
Hearst 11 16 1 3 5 18
Kirkland Lake 8 14 7 19 3 10
North Bay 7 14 2 16 2 13
Sault Ste. Marie 5 15 3 17 10 35
Sudbury 10 12 3 8 7 19
Timmins 4 8 4 13 8 17
Wawa 18 31 11 23 17 41
Total 78 129 39 120 58 168

 2000 2001 2002

 ABAN. TOTAL ABAN. TOTAL ABAN. TOTAL

Chapleau 5 11 4 10 14 21
Cochrane 3 5 2 5 3 10
Hearst 5 11 4 5 7 13
Kirkland Lake 7 13 10 14 9 13
North Bay 11 20 4 8 7 16
Sault Ste. Marie 10 25 4 8 6 14
Sudbury 2 11 4 10 5 10
Timmins 8 16 12 16 7 11
Wawa 5 25 11 26 21 29
Total 56 137 55 102 79 137

 Total

 ABAN. TOTAL

Chapleau 45 78
Cochrane 15 39
Hearst 33 66
Kirkland Lake 44 83
North Bay 33 87
Sault Ste. Marie 38 114
Sudbury 31 70
Timmins 43 81
Wawa 83 175
Total 365 713

Table 2. Abandoned and spoiled moose ob-served in Northeast Region
1997-2002.

 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Total

Abandoned 78 39 58 56 55 79 365
Human Interaction 52 29 31 23 48 68 251
Spoiled 58 33 60 50 51 68 320

Table 3. Moose populations, Adult Validation Tags (AVT), Adult
Validation Tag applicants, and illegal moose kills in Northeast Region
1998-2002.

 1998 1999

 WMU Moose AVT III. Moose AVT III.
 Pop. AVT App. Moose Pop. AVT App. Moose

 18B 528 104 199 0 528 109 186 2
 19 1690 291 677 0 1690 291 742 0
 21A 3105 815 1906 1 3205 790 1994 9
 21B 3105 845 2891 11 3105 845 3216 11
 22 2600 115 719 1 2600 130 804 9
 23 1200 177 937 1 1300 176 730 6
 24 1400 154 1006 5 2074 164 1184 5
 25 597 130 109 0 1656 130 132 1
 26 675 45 458 0 675 45 434 0
 27 1834 250 1341 6 1834 140 873 2
 28 3545 662 4341 14 2762 561 4485 6
 29 2018 601 3475 7 1929 357 2464 16
 30 2827 265 1772 1 2827 265 1872 1
 31 1877 156 1399 8 1877 151 1437 3
 32 1171 91 684 7 1187 30 466 9
 33 768 45 317 3 1266 47 337 6
 34 252 25 234 2 801 25 220 2
 35 1867 215 1823 8 1431 159 1531 18
 36 1601 190 1344 5 1601 111 1338 13
 37 710 45 460 1 993 59 564 9
 38 2352 480 2939 9 2564 375 2989 14
 39 1200 175 1731 3 1200 175 1714 4
 40 2767 295 3061 9 2693 291 2962 9
 41 2312 490 4094 9 2322 4911 4198 4
 42 2473 171 1578 2 2844 241 1973 3
 46 349 48 355 1 349 48 413 0
 47 381 230 2067 0 389 2311 2138 3
 48 1110 350 2696 6 1150 345 2861 2

Total 46344 7460 44613 120 48552 6864 44311 167

 2000 2001

 Moose AVT III. Moose AVT III.
 WMU Pop. AVT App. Moose Pop. AVT App. Moose

 18B 528 109 178 1 285 72 161 0
 19 1690 338 903 1 1690 364 1044 0
 21A 3205 790 2345 0 322 790 2371 3
 21B 3105 735 3058 7 3105 735 2726 11
 22 2600 159 844 8 2300 231 1086 5
 23 1803 200 900 2 1755 186 791 1
 24 2090 187 1126 4 2090 201 1156 2
 25 1656 130 145 1 1656 147 165 0
 26 1404 45 403 2 1404 50 442 2
 27 1113 140 1054 1 1113 140 990 1
 28 2762 511 4454 10 2970 500 4344 11
 29 1629 357 2793 7 1727 302 2160 7
 30 1586 220 1805 4 1586 220 1763 4
 31 1964 170 1433 9 1964 192 1556 10
 32 1187 37 479 8 1706 139 752 11
 33 1266 45 352 2 1330 45 300 0
 34 869 25 219 0 869 25 196 0
 35 1431 159 1458 6 1431 144 1350 5
 36 1081 92 1169 13 1081 92 1029 5
 37 993 59 575 10 993 66 664 1
 38 2564 375 2557 5 2132 290 2301 1
 39 1200 175 1775 2 1200 125 1663 1
 40 2693 295 2885 8 3236 407 3133 4
 41 2322 490 4281 16 2998 541 4312 7
 42 2844 241 2168 3 2844 278 2463 6
 46 302 48 130 0 302 58 422 1
 47 411 230 2138 0 925 262 2179 3
 48 1150 133 2637 7 691 133 2348 0

Total 47448 6495 44564 137 8603 6735 43867 1024

 2002

 Moose AVT III.
 WMU Pop. AVT App. Moose

 18B 285 72 278 1
 19 1861 360 1112 0
 21A 3220 744 2197 0
 21B 3105 685 2874 10
 22 2300 207 1045 2
 23 1755 187 800 7
 24 3080 261 1265 4
 25 1715 147 149 0
 26 1404 50 415 1
 27 1269 140 1068 6
 28 3037 500 4278 13
 29 1727 221 2329 9
 30 2873 200 1741 8
 31 1964 154 1639 7
 32 1650 132 899 14
 33 1330 40 291 2
 34 869 25 187 1
 35 1431 88 1282 7
 36 1081 50 879 6
 37 899 35 632 6
 38 2132 184 2286 10
 39 1200 110 1614 1
 40 3236 386 3452 4
 41 2998 262 4076 9
 42 2430 145 2499 7
 46 426 50 443 0
 47 925 145 2263 1
 48 691 9 1413 1

Total 50893 5589 43606 137

Table 4. Northeast Region illegal moose kill
structure.

 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 Total

Bulls 53 47 65 57 39 59 320
Cows 60 59 83 69 58 64 393
Calves 12 11 14 6 4 10 57
Unknown 4 3 6 5 1 4 23

Total 129 120 168 137 102 137 793

Table 5. Occurrence of observed and expected illegally killed moose in
the Northeast Region.

 NER Proportion
 Proportion Observed Expected Legally Killed

Bull 0.33 319 253 0.417
Cow 0.48 393 367 0.514
Calf 0.19 53 145 0.069

Total 765 765

 Bonferroni
 intervals Preference

Bull 0.362 < P1 < 0.472 +
Cow 0.459 < P2 < 0.570 0
Calf 0.0409 < P3 < 0.098 --

Total

(Chi-square = 77.43, Tabular value, P < 0.05, 2 df= 5.99).

Table 6. Northeast Region enforcement efforts 1997--2002. (1)

 1997 1998 1999 2000

Enforcement Effort (hrs) 10,588 11,635 13,892 14,569
Hunter Contacts 18.167 18,132 20,805 17,369
Charges 322 458 559 454
Warnings 565 562 493 586
Non-Compliance Rate (%) 4.9 5.6 5.1 6
Penalties ($) 93,290 163,176 203,120 157,215
Illegal Kills 129 120 168 137

 2001 2002 Total

Enforcement Effort (hrs) 11,835 12,780 75,299
Hunter Contacts 15,471 18,674 108,618
Charges 381 406 2580
Warnings 459 399 3064
Non-Compliance Rate (%) 5.4 4.3 5.2
Penalties ($) 100,055 105,330 822,186
Illegal Kills 102 137 793

(1) (Period--September 1-December 31).

Table 7. Northeast Region verified and estimated
illegal moose kill 1999-2002.

 1999 2000 2001 2002

Verified Illegal 167 137 102 137
Moose Kill

Projected Illegal 573 557 577 560
Moose Kill--from
Regression Equation

Projected Illegal 404 394 406 396
Moose Kill--from
CO Contact

Projected NER 56,152 54,790 56,491 55,026
Moose Hunters

Table 8. Moose Watch violation report line calls
2000-2002.

 2000 2001 2002

Chapleau 3 2 9
Cochrane 1 3 0
Hearst 2 4 2
Kirkland Lake 7 7 10
North Bay 8 13 10
Sault Ste. Marie 9 21 7
Sudbury 10 18 6
Timmins 6 15 10
Wawa 13 17 17
Total Northeast 61 100 71
Region Calls
Total Provincial 61 200 131
Calls

Table 9. Violations reported to Moose Watch
line 2000-2002.

Violation Reported (1) 2000 2001 2002 Total

Moose Poaching 17 60 60 137
Abandoned Moose 15 37 33 85
Turning Self In 6 5 5 16
Night Hunting 5 16 5 26
Aircraft Hunting 5 2 0 7
Deer Poaching 3 37 13 53
Fish Poaching 1 10 1 12
Elk Poaching 0 3 1 4
Turkey Poaching 0 1 0 1
Non-Violations 9 29 13 51
Total 61 200 131 392

(1) NER only 2000, Province-wide 2001-02.

Fig. 2. Estimated Northeast Region moose
population 1997-2002.

1997 45431
1998 46344
1999 48522
2000 47448
2001 48603
2002 50893

Note: Table made from line graph.

Fig. 3. Northeast Region illegal moose kill age
and sex structure.

Bulls 40%
Cows 49%
Calves 7%
Unkn. 4%

Note: Table made by pie chart.

Fig. 4. Northeast Region illegal moose kill and
estimated annual recruitment loss.

 Illegal Kill Estimated Annual
 Recruitment Loss

1997 129 28
1998 120 54
1999 168 90
2000 137 117
2001 102 146
2002 137 178

Note: Table made by bar graph.

Fig. 5. Hunter contacts and enforcement effort
per illegal moose in Northeast Region 1997-2002.

 Enforcement Hunter
 effort (hours) contacts

1997 82 141
1998 97 151
1999 83 124
2000 106 126
2001 116 152
2002 93 136
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Author:Todesco, Charlie
Publication:Alces
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:7216
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