DNR to stage limited moose hunt this fall
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will offer a limited bulls-only moose hunt next fall, and is closing two hunting zones in the Northeast because of a declining population.
The state's moose population has dropped by half in the past five years, and officials say the animal could be gone from the state in 20 years.
Researchers say the limited kill by hunters isn't the cause of the decline and closing the season won't stop the downward trend.
An aerial moose survey this winter showed a population of 4,230 in northeastern Minnesota, down 14 percent from last year. The population was 8,840 as recently as 2006.
DNR officials say if they stopped the season this year, it wouldn't stop the decline in the population. The bull-cow ratio is sufficient to ensure that all cows can be bred. Hunters killed only 53 moose last season and wolves do not appear to be responsible for long term herd decline. Just 11 collared moose were taken by wolves since 2002.
Officials say the majority of mortality appears to be related to disease and parasites.
Tuesday’s announcement means Minnesotans who want to hunt bull moose this fall can apply for 87 available licenses starting Monday, April 2.
Eleven of the of the 87 available permits will be offered first to hunters who were selected in last year's lottery but opted not to hunt because of hunting access issues caused by the Pagami Creek Fire.
The moose season will open Saturday, Sept. 29, and conclude Sunday, Oct. 14.