Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

MI: Moose Hunting Advisory Council announced

Marquette, Mich. – The Moose Hunting Advisory Council that was
provided for in legislation signed by former governor Jennifer
Granholm will include two former DNR employees, two members of the
Western Upper Peninsula Citizen Advisory Council to the DNR, a
representative from the National Wildlife Federation, a member of
the Inter-Tribal Council, and DNR Wildlife Division chief Russ
Mason. Appointments to the council made were recently by DNR
Director Rodney Stokes.

The council is charged with making a recommendation about the
feasibility of establishing a moose hunt in the U.P.

The former DNR employees who will be on the council are Jim
Hammill, of Crystal Falls, and Jim Ekdahl, of Baraga. Both were
working for the state agency when moose were reintroduced to the
U.P. mainland in the 1980s. Hammill was a district wildlife
biologist for many years, working out of the Crystal Falls DNR
office. He’s now the president of the Northwoods Chapter of Safari
Club International and is the head of the national organization’s
North American Conservation Committee.

It’s fitting that a representative of SCI be on the council, since
the organization contributed $1 million toward the relocation of
moose to the U.P. from Ontario in 1985 and ‘87, and monitoring of
those animals once they arrived.

“As far as I’m concerned, it all comes down to the quality of the
science,” Hammill said. “If the science indicates we can have a
hunt, that’s what I will recommend. If the science indicates we
shouldn’t have a hunt, that’s also what I will recommend.”

Ekdahl was the law enforcement supervisor for the U.P. when moose
were brought here from Ontario. He was later appointed deputy
director for the U.P. and played a major role in tribal
negotiations regarding 1836 Treaty rights, resulting in a consent
decree between the tribes and the DNR in 2006. If a moose hunt is
held in the western U.P., the Treaty of 1842 and the tribes that
were part of that treaty will be involved, and Ekdahl’s experience
with treaty rights will be valuable.

Although Ekdahl spent most of his time coordinating conservation
officers to oversee the moose releases, he was on hand one day in
1987 when moose were released.

“I almost witnessed (former governor) Blanchard being trampled by a
moose,” Ekdahl said. “The governor was involved in a ceremonial
release, but someone neglected to tell him that once the door is
removed from crates and the moose see daylight, they sometimes come
out fairly fast. Once the door was off the crate, I was hollering
at the governor to get out of the way and his body guard made a
move to get him out of the way.”

Ekdahl also was involved in some of the aerial surveys of moose and
saw some interesting things from the air.

“One day I saw a group of four bulls bedded,” Ekdahl said. “There
was a big bull with three smaller bulls around him in a
semi-circle. It looked like the bigger bull was giving a
lecture.”

Ekdahl said he has seen seven or eight moose in the wild since the
releases, with sightings in Baraga, Marquette, and Iron
counties.

Rural Marquette County resident George Lindquist will be
representing Michigan United Conservation Clubs on the Moose
Hunting Advisory Council. He lives about 20 miles from the sites
where moose were initially released. He said he’s had moose in his
yard and in the lake bordering his property. He’s also a member of
the Western U.P. Citizens Advisory Council, and so is Houghton
County resident Mick Jarvi, another member of the Moose Hunting
Advisory Council.

Jarvi is the president of the Lake Linden-Hubbell Sportsmen’s
Association, which is an affiliate of the U.P. Sportsmen’s
Alliance. He’s also the president of the Keweenaw Peninsula Chapter
of U.P. Whitetails. Jarvi said he was on hand to witness some of
the moose released in the U.P. in 1987, and he’s seen two bulls in
the wild since near the community of Gay in Keweenaw County.

Jason Dinsmore, of Ann Arbor, will represent the National Wildlife
Federation on the council. He works out of the organization’s
regional Great Lakes office. He was a employee of Michigan United
Conservation Clubs before attending law school at Wayne State
University.

“I am going into this with an open mind,” he said. “I hope to make
the best decision for the resource after considering all of the
information possible.”

The tribal member of the Moose Hunting Advisory Council has yet to
be announced.

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