Happenings in the Forest

Moostery Solved: GMF 2020 Moose Census Results

March 26, 2021

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Bull moose courtesy of the moose cam.

The 2020 GMF summer interns Eve Cullerton and Leeane Marvin were determined to reasonably estimate the Forest’s resident moose population. They undertook this project with Forest Manager Jody Bronson directing their efforts.

The intern team placed the cameras, capable of taking nighttime infra-red images at various moose locations: open wetland; forested wetland; grassland/meadow; mature hemlock stand; upland hardwood; and mixed hardwood area that had been harvested for timber within the last 10 years.

Their research was limited by the length of their summer internship and the number of trail cameras—a total of seven to cover 6,247 acres of habitat. Fortuitously, an authorized volunteer offered his own cameras and his time to place them in the remote NW section of GMF, where there were signs of high moose activity. Jody continued to monitor the cameras throughout the fall and established a moose census as of November 1, 2020.

The cameras captured four categories of moose: mature bulls, adolescent bulls, cows, and calves. The team analyzed the images of mature bulls and young bulls for individual antler patterns. Cows and calves presented challenges because of their lack of specific identifying features.

Jody’s analysis of the images on the 11 cameras yielded a count of 21 moose active in GMF: 11 mature bulls,2 adolescent bulls, 5 cows, and 3 calves.

Moostery solved!