There are smartphone apps that compile user data on restaurants, bars and shops – so why not an app that tracks information on moose?
With the BC Moose Tracker app hunters input observations on the kind of moose they see during an outing and how long they spend in the bush.
Moose populations have been a big concern for Burns Lake area hunters and wildlife enthusiasts and in July the village council took a step to help recover moose numbers.
The app detects which Management Unit (MU) the user is in, which for the Burns Lake region is Skeena (6-5).
“We only record data at the Management Unit level, so there’s no worry of anyone finding out where your favorite spots are,” as Conrad Thiessen, Senior Wildlife Biologist with FLNRORD told Lakes District News.
“Even if you’re out of cell service the data will upload to our server when you get back into service.”
The data is then sent to database of the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operation and Rural Development (FLNRORD), which developed the app in partnership with the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and the British Columbia Wildlife Federation.
The app was launched in August of 2016 as an inexpensive way of gathering more information to aid moose management.
“Hunters will know the patch of ground they hunt year after year more intimately than government biologists ever will, but finding a way to harness the knowledge of all those hunters isn’t easy,” Thiessen said.
But three years after its launch, adoption of the app has proven slow.
“In the first few years we had less than 3 per cent of the 40,000 moose hunters in BC using the app,” Thiessen said.
“A total of 4,719 moose were reported over the course of the two years. Participation declined by 51 per cent from 2016 to 2017 across the entire province, and low sample size hampered our analysis,” according to the 2017 Moose Tracker Report.
Lack of awareness of the app is the main cause of the low participation rates.
The report on usage in 2018 has not been completed yet, but Thiessen said participation increased slightly last year.
The app is available for iOS, Android phones and tablet devices.