The Impact of off-highway recreation vehicles on big game: management implications for Alberta's eastern slopes
LccQH 545 A43 Y35 1986
LcshAll terrain vehicles - Environmental aspects
Environmental policy - Alberta - Eastern slopes
Wildlife management - Alberta - Eastern slopes
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AbstractThis study investigated the impact of off-highway recreational vehicle use on habitat utilization and reproduction of big game animals. Information gathered was applied to off-highway vehicle management on Alberta's Eastern Slopes. The literature showed various detrimental effects of recreational vehicle use on wildlife including; avoidance of habitat adjacent to roadways, overharvesting of big game populations and movements of animals into marginal habitat. There was a general lack of information on the direct impact on recreational vehicle use on behavior and reproduction of big game animals. To supplement this information, female mule deer were subjected to experimental vehicle harassment. Experimental work was performed on Suffield Military Reserve in south-eastern Alberta. Three radio-collared female mule deer were harassed by pursuit with a Honda three-wheeled all-terrain-cycle during Oct.1-Oct.24, 1981. The study showed harassed deer shifted to nocturnal feeding patterns, increased their use of hiding cover, increased their home range size, and fled from the harassing vehicle with greater frequency following harassment. Reproduction of harassed deer also dropped significantly the year following harassment (1982). These results, and information from the literature, support the contention of several authors that harassment may result in reduced reproduction in big game animals. Recommendations for managing off-highway recreational vehicles on the Eastern Slopes are made with reference to the literature, and the current policy and management setting on the Eastern Slopes and management setting on the Eastern Slopes. The recommendations include development of designated route systems and a user fee on off-highway recreational vehicles to provide funding for OHRV facilities development.
Bibliography: p. 55-67.