Year-round Activity Patterns of Moose (Alces alces) at a Natural Mineral Lick in North Central British Columbia, Canada

Posted on Oct 11, 2012

Author

Roy V. REA, Dexter P. HODDER, and Kenneth N. CHILD

Correspondence: Roy V. Rea, Ecosystem Science and Management Program, Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Institute, University of Northern British Columbia, 3333 University Way, Prince George, BC, V2N 4Z9, Canada. Email: Roy.Rea@unbc.ca

Received 9 June 2012 – Accepted 11 October 2012


Abstract

Mineral licks are used by ungulates throughout most of their ranges. At licks, ungulates ingest soil particles and water to meet numerous physiological demands. The majority of research on the use of licks by Moose (Alces alces) has focused on the early to midsummer period. We monitored the year-round use of a lick by Moose in the John Prince Research Forest located in North Central British Columbia, Canada from 2002 to 2005 with a TrailMaster camera. Moose used the lick throughout the year, with peaks in activity occurring during early summer and mid-winter. Overall, adult female Moose (cows) used the lick more frequently than did calves and adult males (bulls). Cows were present at the lick proportionately more in May, June and July relative to bulls and calves while bulls were present proportionately more in April and May. Calf use generally mirrored that of their mothers except during the months of April and May, when calves were absent from the photo records. The total amount of time spent by cows and calves at the lick was greatest between December and February, and June through August, but bulls spent most of their time at the lick in June. All Moose predominantly used the lick late at night and during the early morning hours and less frequently during mid-day. Our observations of mineral lick use by Moose during winter suggests that Moose may also be facing a mineral deficiency in winter similar to that reported by others for Moose during spring and early summer.

Key Words: Moose, Alces alces, behaviour, British Columbia, mineral licks, winter

 

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