Moose Survey Results by Region
Ontario conducts aerial surveys each year to track trends in the moose population. Recent survey results suggest that moose numbers have decreased in parts of the province.
The aerial survey results, as well as moose population objectives, hunter success rates and estimated trends in other factors, such as winter ticks and brain worm, are used to set the number of adult moose tags that will be available in the provincial draw.
Between 2013 and 2015, Ontario has conducted aerial surveys in 59 of the 67 wildlife management units where moose are hunted, representing 88 per cent of Ontario's moose hunting areas.
The 2015 surveys were completed in 27 wildlife management units in Ontario and showed the following changes:
- A population increase in one wildlife management unit in the northwest region
- Stable populations in ten wildlife management units - four in the northeast region, two in the northwest region and four in southern region
- A population decrease in 15 wildlife management units - seven in the northeast region, four in the northwest region and four in southern region
Note: In one wildlife management unit in northeast region, the moose population status and trend were not able to be determined.
Aerial survey design
Aerial surveys are designed to estimate the moose population in a wildlife management unit, including moose age, sex and abundance.
Surveys are flown:
- Between December 1 and mid-February, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- When there is at least 30 centimetres of snow coverage
- When the weather is colder than -5 degrees
- At about 140 metres above ground level, at close to 145 km/hr
- When the wind is less than 20 km/hour and the sky provides adequate visibility
Optimal snow depths lead to better visibility of moose tracks, as well as moose. In fact, surveys are generally flown within 12 to 72 hours of a fresh snowfall. Colder temperatures are also beneficial, since moose are more likely to remain bedded if they experience heat stress.