The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has canceled more than half the aerial moose surveys scheduled for northwestern Ontario due to what it calls “unfavourable conditions.”
Jolanta Kowalski, the Senior Media Relations Officer with the MNRF, says survey conditions were good until early January.
However, she said two weeks of abnormally warm weather right across the northwest region created problems for the biologists doing the aerial count.
“When you get that extensive warm weather, moose kind of shift into conifer cover,” said Kowalksi. “And they will stay there generally until the snow melt in the spring. If they are under cover, it makes it a bit difficult to count their numbers.”
Kowalski said surveys were completed for 3 Wildlife Management Units including 5, 7A/7B and 14. Surveys were canceled in 5 WMUs including 8, 9A, 9B, 11A and 13.
“What were are doing now is with the survey’s done in the northwest, we are going to look at the results, ” Kowalski said. “And then we will try to assess – relative to population trends – what the moose population objectives should be for those wildlife management units on both a bull to cow ratio, and a calf recruitment level.”
Kowalski said there are no plans to reschedule the flights cancelled. She said in units that missed getting surveyed, MNRF biologists will use inventory results and estimates from previous surveys.
John Kaplanis, the executive director of the Northwestern Ontario Sportsman’s Alliance, is upset the ministry has had to cancel five of the eight aerial moose surveys scheduled this winter in the region. “Heavy disappointment is a very good way to put it,” he said.