November 17, 2013

State DEC about to embark on moose study

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is gearing up for what will be an official moose management plan.

The agency will oversee a joint study by Cornell University and the State College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in hopes of getting a true measure of New York’s moose population and establishing a long-term moose management plan that may, or may not, involve hunting.

While there are other moose-related factors to contend with, DEC’s Senior Wildlife Biologist Gordon Batcheller says that population related factors are at the top of the list.

“We estimate now that there between 600 and 800 moose in New York, but that’s what we call a very soft estimate. It is not statistically sound; it is based on regional reports and estimates on what’s out there.

“Right now were developing the scope of the work,” Batcheller said of the forthcoming moose research. “There’s a lot of scientific questions about what our objectives are and how we are going to do it. How much is it going to cost? There’s different techniques for counting moose. We can go up in an aircraft, do DNA work, there’s all kinds of different scientific ways of doing it. So we’re in the discussion stage; it’s very preliminary right now.”

The population factor, again, is the key component.

But Batcheller says there’s more to it than just counting the moose that are out there now, or during the research period.

“We know that if we’re going to develop a good long-term sensible moose management plan we need to know not only the population estimate, that has to be a good number, we have to have the rate of growth,” he said. “So, you need two things: the base population levels and the rate of growth.”

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