Executive Summary

The winter of 2006-2007 was more severe than average in terms of snow depths, temperatures, and a delayed spring. The severe winter coincided with the liberalization of hunting regulations for mule deer in the agricultural area of the Peace Region by the Ministry of Environment. In order to quantify the immediate effects of these two factors on ungulate populations and to monitor changes in ungulate populations over time, four survey blocks that had been counted for a mule deer survey in 2005 were identified and re-surveyed from 2007-2010, 2012, and again in 2013-14, and will be surveyed annually when funding is available. The four blocks are in management unit 7-33. The count focussed on number and classification by age and sex of mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk and moose, and recorded observations of incidental species (primarily wolves, coyotes and sharp-tailed grouse). The total number of mule deer observed in 2013-14 was 270, representing an overall decrease of 60% in mule deer numbers from 2005, prior to the severe winter of 2006-2007. White-tailed deer numbers have fluctuated since 2005, and the number observed in 2013-14 was comparable to that observed in 2005. A total of 99 moose were observed in the four replicate blocks in 2013-14, which is the lowest count of moose since 2005, representing a decrease of 24% from 2005 and a decrease of 28% from 2012. Overall elk numbers have appeared to increase from 2005 and 2012; however, this type of survey does not provide reliable results indicative of elk populations in the agricultural area.

Read the entire technical report:

Peace Agriculture Zone Ungulate Winter Replicate Block Count – February 2014