I think the studies show Jackson Hole moose are slowly starving-
There is a story in today’s Jackson Hole News and Guide. Moose declines puzzling. Habitat, malnutrition, predators play roles. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, WY
I don’t see much evidence of direct population depression from predation, especially wolf predation, here. Predators do disproportionately take animals that are starving. Both Joel Berger and later Scott Becker found that by far the largest mortality source of female moose in Jackson Hole was starvation. The poor condition of female moose is also shown by the reduction in the number of twins produced from 10% to less than 5%.”
As far as much quoted B.J. Hill, local outfitter,”[who] thinks habitat loss is exaggerated and says “I’ve watched moose literally live off of pine needles,” I say everyone knows that moose eat conifer in the winter in deep snow areas. First, however, moose need a balanced diet the entire year and second, the conifer are dying. Article after article after article has appeared about the vast disease and beetle kill of pines and other conifers from the Yukon to New Mexico.
Hill claims to live in the mountains every day. Why then didn’t he notice that beginning in 1988 and a number of years thereafter, most of Teton Wilderness burned? The conifers are gone. I wrote two guides to the Teton Wilderness — one came out in the early 1980s and second in 2000. Many more pine have died of insects since then. Any damn fool that has spent time there can see that the ecology of the place has been transformed.