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|All Authors / Contributors:||Jon E Swenson|
Data on reproduction, population trends, and harvest of mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) in the Absaroka Mountains, southwestern Montana, were analyzed for the period from 1956, when the goats were introduced, to 1983. Kid: older goat ratios were correlated with density of older goats (P < 0.01) and, to a lesser degree, with spring snow depths (P < 0.10). Population trend was best correlated with harvest rate (P < 0.05), but was also negatively correlated with goat density (P < 0.10). Data on hunter success and sex of harvest could not be used to determine population trends. This study documents a compensatory response in reproduction to changes in population size in mountain goats. The results suggest that wildlife managers can expect maximum reproductive response to harvest from introduced mountain goat populations which are still in the initial increase phase. However, even then goat populations are sensitive to overharvest. Managers must know the relationship between a goat population and the food resources available to predict responses to harvest.