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NDMNRF takes to the air to count moose

NDMNRF takes to the air to count moose

Wildlife Management Units 17, 18a, and 18b

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~  December 21, 2021 (LSNews) The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry will be conducting moose aerial inventory surveys in Wildlife Management Units 17, 18a, and 18b to help monitor moose populations across Ontario.

Between mid-December and February, staff will be using aircraft to look for moose and their tracks in fresh, deep snow. Survey information on the number, age, and sex of moose is used to inform moose and habitat management.

As is the case every year, completion of surveys is dependent on appropriate weather conditions such as snow, to ensure staff can reliably detect moose tracks from aircraft.

More information about moose management and monitoring is available at


The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF) tracks moose population trends through:

  • aerial inventory survey results
  • moose population objectives
  • hunter reporting data
  • estimated trends in other factors, such as winter ticks and brain worm

The combined results of these measurements are used to set the numbers of moose tags available in the annual moose tag allocation process.

Moose aerial inventories

  • Moose aerial inventories are designed to provide estimates of the moose populations in Ontario’s wildlife management units (WMUs). This includes documenting the age class (calf or adult) and sex of moose in these areas.
  • For the moose aerial inventories, most WMU are divided into rectangular plots measuring 10 kilometres x 2.5 kilometres and up to 40 or more plots are flown per WMU.
  • The ministry aims to systematically survey each WMU where moose are hunted.
  • Surveys are flown:
    • between December 1 and mid-February, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    • within 12 to 72 hours of a fresh snowfall (at least 30 cm) to better see moose or their tracks
    • when the weather is colder than -5C, when moose are more likely to be active
    • at about 140 metres above ground level, at close to 145 km/hour
    • when the wind is less than 20 km/hour and the sky provides adequate visibility

Moose hunter reporting

NDMNRF hunting activity and hunter harvest reports submitted by moose hunters across the province. Tourist outfitters also submit a report detailing their clients’ moose hunting and harvesting activities. New rules that took effect January 1, 2019 require all provincially licensed moose hunters to report on their activity and harvest.

The results of previous moose hunter activity and harvest reports can be found in the data on Moose hunting activity and harvests.

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