Northeastern Minnesota moose count completed

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.

A copy of the aerial survey report and additional information
about Minnesota’s moose population is available here.

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