Aspen Bibliography

Winter Ecology of Moose in the Gallatin Mountains, Montana

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Journal of Wildlife Management





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Moose (Alces alces shirasi) winter range use and food habits were studied on the north slope of the Gallatin mountain range, Montana, from September, 1965, to December, 1967. Aerial observation indicated a low density population winters primarily on quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) vegetation types. Migration from fall to winter range was gradual and lasted throughout the winter. Highest moose concentrations were found on the aspen and Douglas-fire types in March and April. Rumen sample analyses indicated that low red huckleberry (Vaccinium scoparium), subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), and willow (Salix spp.) were the most important fall food items. Feeding site examinations indicated that willow, western serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), and red dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) were the most important species in winter. Serviceberry, dogwood, and willow remained important into the spring, when increased use of currant (Ribes spp.) and some forbs was noted. Aquatic plants and grasses were found to be unimportant in the moose diet. Condition and trend transects indicated that the range was in poor condition and deteriorating further. Reproduction data indicated calf: cow ratios of 55:100 and 52:100, in 1965 and 1966, respectively. Aerial observation was effective in determining moose distribution but not for total census of the study area. Willow was not found as important to this moose population as has been reported for the Shiras moose on other areas.