Do moose adjust their behaviour to survive the hunting season?

Last changed: 09 January 2023
Portrait of Lukas Graf in a forest.

Do moose adjust their movement patterns and habitat selections during the hunting season? Lukas Graf's investing that in his Master's thesis.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Lukas and I'm from Germany. I’m definitely an outdoors person and like to be out in the forest or the mountains. My home university is the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, so I’m pretty far away from home while writing my thesis here in Umeå.

What is your Master's thesis about?

My thesis focuses on the learning within anti-predator behavior in moose that are exposed to human harvest.

Moose are hunted heavily throughout Sweden. My research focuses on whether individuals adjust their movement patterns and habitat selection in order to increase their survival chances. More specifically, I am investigating whether learning behavior differs between female and male moose, and whether female moose learn from the experience of losing their offspring by harvest.

Here, I am analyzing moose movement data, obtained from GPS-collared moose in two regions in southern Sweden, using step lengths and used versus available habitat in relation to various variables, such as survival, age and human hunting pressure.

Why did you choose that topic?

As a hunter, I’ve always been interested in ungulates and research on them. A while ago, I had the opportunity to participate in an in-depth workshop that focused on analyzing telemetry data in R. Coming to SLU gave me the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned there with my interest in ungulates.