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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fewer Northeastern Minnesota Moose

moose on an island
moose on the edge of a small island in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area near the Kekekabic/ NC Trail (photo by J Young)
a news release of Minnesota DNR

Northeastern Minnesota’s 2008 moose survey estimates a population of 7,600 animals. This is similar to last year’s count, but related factors suggest that the population is continuing to decline.

“The raw survey numbers were similar,” said Mark Lenarz, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife researcher overseeing moose research. “But a historically low calf survival rate, a steadily declining hunter-success ratio, and a higher than normal non-hunting mortality rate all continue to suggest a downward trend in the moose population.”

Minnesota’s 2008 non-hunting mortality moose rate was 17 percent, down 3 percent from the 20 percent average rate reported during the past seven years. Elsewhere in North America, between 8 and 12 percent of moose generally die from causes other than hunting.

Moose remain abundant enough in the state to support a bulls-only hunt for a limited number of Minnesotans. But the percentage of hunters who successfully harvested a bull moose has steadily declined from 61 percent in 2001 to 45 percent in 2008.

Members of the DNR’s moose advisory committee are identifying management practices and research opportunities that may forestall the decline of Minnesota’s moose population. The committee will make recommendations to the DNR later this year.

Aerial moose surveys have been conducted each year since 1960 in the northeast. The Fond du Lac band and 1854 Treaty Authority contributed funding and provided personnel for the survey.

See the aerial survey report and additional information about Minnesota’s moose population

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