Increase your odds for drawing a Minnesota moose tag

Below you’ll see the Minnesota DNR’s press release for the
annual moose hunt. The state will issue 225 high-demand tags, and
with the large number of applicants, the chances of obtaining one
run pretty thin.

But here’s a tip for the hardy hunters among us: Apply for an
interior Boundary Waters Canoe Area permit zone. DNR licensing
people tell me that overall, your odds for any given permit area
probably rank around one in 20 (at best). In the interior B-dub
zones, however, you can increase your odds to closer to one in
five. That’s still not great, but look at it this way: If you apply
for five years, the odds suggest you should get drawn.

The flip side: If the lottery draws your name, you’ll bust your
butt trying to kill a moose in the October wilderness without any
internal combustion engines to help. A buddy and I came up empty
when we moose hunted the BWCA in 2000, but we had an awesome
experience! No bugs in October, and we saw maybe a half-dozen other
people our entire week while base-camping seven portages deep on
Long Island Lake. This was just a few months after the blowdown,
and the destruction created some incredible challenges for
negotiating terrain. As an aside, we launched at Ham Lake off the
west end of the Gunflint Trail. The massive Ham Lake Fire of May
2007 ignited in the same area, so I’m sure it looks much different
from when we hunted.

I’d really like to try it again, but alas, it’s
once-in-a-lifetime. Maybe I’ll have to get one of my boys to apply
in a few years…. Or I wonder if anyone at DNR Headquarters (I’m
immensely popular at 500 Lafayette Ave., St. Paul) would pull some
strings for this humble editor?

Bottom line, the toughest aspect of hunting moose in Minnesota
is obtaining a permit. So if you’re up to the challenge, consider
upping your odds by applying for a permit area where few men trod
during the chilly days of early October. I’m massively jealous of
anyone who hasn’t used their once-in-a-lifetime status. Few places
in the Lower 48 offer moose hunting, so take advantage of your
Minnesota residency and give it a shot in 2009.

Bull moose hunt application deadline is May 1

Minnesotans who want to experience a once-in-a-lifetime bull
moose hunt this fall have until May 1 to apply for a permit.

Applicants will be applying for a total of 225 bull-only harvest
permits, which are spread across 30 hunting zones of northeastern
Minnesota. Permits for the Oct.3-18 hunt are awarded randomly to
parties of two to four hunters.

Permit applications are available at any of the DNR’s 1,650
license agents. A fee of $3 per individual must be included with an
application. Only Minnesota residents 16 years and older are
eligible for the moose hunt. Any hunter who received a moose permit
since 1991 is not eligible to apply for the once-in-a-lifetime
hunt. Successful applicants must pay a license fee of $310 per
party and attend a mandatory orientation session.

In 2008, 2,706 parties applied for 247 permits. Hunting parties
harvested 110 bull moose.

There are about 7,500 moose in Minnesota. Concerns that the
population is declining prompted the creation of a Moose Advisory
Committee, which will make management and research recommendations
to the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division in June.

“The committee is studying all data that’s available on moose in
Minnesota as well as surrounding states and Canadian provinces,”
said committee chair Rolf Peterson, Isle Royale’s renowned wildlife
ecologist and a professor at Michigan Technological University in
Houghton, Mich. “Our goal is to make recommendations on future
moose management and research, including specific suggestions on
how moose hunting might be managed in the face of a sustained
decline in the population.”

Harvesting bull moose has very little impact on the rate of herd
population change. Based on population survey data collected in
2008, DNR wildlife biologists estimate that a high percentage of
cows are bred each fall even with the bulls-only hunt.

“Societal perceptions of moose hunting are one of the key issues
the Moose Advisory Committee is considering,” said Lou Cornicelli,
DNR big game program coordinator. “We’re eager to hear the
committee’s recommendations. Our research to this point indicates
that a limited bull-moose hunting season can continue.”

Categories: Rob Drieslein

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