Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
In collaboration with Arbour Vitae Environmental Services Ltd., ESSA developed a computerized harvest planning system based on the current Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) guidelines for setting moose harvest quotas. The system allows users to quickly and easily calculate the projected harvest based on current moose population and historical harvest statistics. The system takes into account the ratio of bulls to cows, the calf harvest, and potential tag fill rates to calculate recommended harvest figures. It allows the harvest to be apportioned to three hunter groups (Outfitters, Gun and Archery), and provides for the integration of harvest estimates from tag recommendations made by planners in individual Wildlife Management Units (WMU). The system includes a comprehensive on-line help utility that provides clear, concise descriptions of the function and structure (including underlying formulae) of the system to enable users to better understand and interpret their results. The Moose Harvest Planning System has received positive reviews and is currently being used by OMNR district biologists throughout the province.
Recently, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources identified a need to provide district biologists with the capacity to integrate moose WMU-level population modelling into the tag allocation process. ESSA has been engaged to develop this model and to integrate it directly into the existing Moose Harvest Planning System so it will seamlessly display future population predictions alongside the current graphical display of historical data. Such a population model will enable district biologists to better understand the implications of setting quotas on future population levels.