The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources released its Moose Research and Management Plan yesterday, in hopes of maintaining the animal’s presence in Minnesota.
Wildlife researchers currently estimate that 4,900 moose populate northeastern Minnesota. Last year the agency estimated the population was 5,500 animals. A decade ago, more than 8,000 moose roamed northeastern Minnesota. In northwestern Minnesota, what once was a moose population in the thousands, now numbers only 100 animals.
The plan is open for public comment until September 30. Details for submitting comments can be found HERE.
“Moose are an important species in Minnesota and the observed population declines are cause for concern,” Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program coordinator said in a media release. “It is our hope that this plan helps DNR prioritize research and management that benefits moose populations.”
Some elements of the plan include:
— Improving moose habitat via land management.
— Keeping deer populations in the primary moose range low, since deer carry brain worm parasites fatal to moose.
— Banning recreational deer feeding in primary moose range, to avoid artificially increasing the deer population.
— Closing the moose hunting season in zones where hunter success drop below 20 percent for three years (or below 10 percent inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness).
— Reducing hunting permits if the ratio of bulls to cows continues to drop, since researchers believe a drop in bull population below two-thirds of cows could cause an overall collapse.
— Continue research on moose mortality, especially moose calves, including the effect of wolves and bears killing calves.