MN: BWCAW moose hunters offered post-fire choice

St. Paul – Some of the state’s moose hunters this year have a
decision to make, and it’s all thanks to a fire that’s scorched
nearly 95,000 acres in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness of
Minnesota’s far north, and affected moose hunting in a dozen
moose-hunting zones.

More than a week ago, the DNR alerted potential BWCAW-area hunters
about access closures that could affect their hunts. Earlier this
week, the department announced options for those hunters.

According to a DNR press release, “Participants in this fall’s
bulls-only hunt can choose to have their licenses refunded and
reinstated for a future hunt if the Pagami Creek fire in the BWCAW
has impacted or limited access to the zone in which they are
authorized to hunt.”

Moose-hunting zones affected by the DNR decision include 20, 22,
23, 24, 25, 26, 61, 62, 63, 64, 77, and 80.

As of Tuesday, the Pagami Creek fire was 59 percent contained, and
its coverage hadn’t expanded much in more than a week. Nearly 800
workers continued to fight the fire, which began Aug. 18 and is
believed to have been started by a lightning strike about 13 miles
east of Ely.

Several road closures remained in effect as of Tuesday. Changes in
the fire’s status this week also could affect access and road
closures as the moose hunt’s Oct. 1 commencement nears.

Even if hunters are able to get to areas they’d hoped to hunt
moose, they might not be prepared, given the timeframe of the
blaze.

“It’s not just a question of direct fire impacts, but of restricted
access over a significant period of time prior to the hunt,” Steve
Merchant, DNR wildlife program manager, said in a press release.
“The fire has been burning for more than a month. This may have
prevented hunters from planning properly and scouting their areas
in preparation for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The DNR press statement says if hunters in fire-impacted zones can
access the zone in which they are authorized to hunt, they can
choose to hunt regardless of the fire. If access to a zone is not
possible or earlier fire-related closures prevented access, hunters
in fire-impacted zones may choose to participate in a future
hunt.

Additional zones could be added if the Pagami Creek fire or related
closings by the U.S. Forest Service prevent access to additional
moose zones. Current information about moose hunting zones affected
by the fire is available on the DNR website
mndnr.gov/hunting/moose/zones.

Categories: Hunting News, News Archive

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