Moose Madness

     If you read my Halloween Post about the Very Scary Story then you’ll know why I’m even more mad about the Minnesota Moose Hunt.  I’m not against moose hunting in general but specifically about moose hunting on the Gunflint Trail and especially when moose numbers are declining on their own.  Now I think I have something more to be upset about because I don’t think the Minnesota DNR Moose Hunting Statistics include all of the details.

     I don’t think the MN DNR discloses information about special licenses or privileges that are given to certain people.  Two of these certain people happened to have been involved in the Scary Story.  Although their privileges do not include hunting without blaze orange on, shooting down a road or road hunting in general it does include an extended hunting season. The people from the Fon Du Lac Reservation near Cloquet, MN have a moose hunting season that is open through December.  If this is the case then the results of their moose hunt would not be included in the moose hunt statistics that have already been released from the DNR. 

     The Fon Du Lac Reservation not only has their own season for moose hunting but also their own limits.  In their 1854 Ceded Territory there are 72 moose permits given to members of the Reservation.  According to the Fon Du Lac Resource Management 2008 Integrated Resource Management Plan, "

The Ceded Territories are used by Fond du Lac Band members exercising traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights under the Treaties of 1854 and 1837. All of Fond du Lac’s moose harvest, most of the deer harvest and much of the furbearer and non-game harvest occurs in the Ceded Territories…

Moose are one of the few wildlife resources where the demand by tribal members – primarily hunters – exceeds the supply. Moose are relatively plentiful in the 1854 Ceded Territory .   However, moose numbers have not increased in recent years and may be declining. Demand for moose by sport and tribal subsistence hunters and non-consumptive users is high. Information on moose populations and habitat requirements is needed by wildlife managers if moose are to be maintained on the landscape. A few moose use the Reservation although they are at the southern extremity of their range in Minnesota there and it’s unlikely the Reservation can support a viable herd. Moose are largely absent from the 1837 Ceded Territory .





     The number of moose taken in Minnesota each year may or may not include the 72 permits given to the people from Fon Du Lac.  I’m all for the people from Fon Du Lac having special rights as long as they are not abused as was the case in the Scary Story, but are there other special groups that receive permits or licenses?  Is the DNR really keeping good enough tabs on our Northeastern Minnesota moose population?  According to the Minnesota DNR 111 moose were taken in this year’s hunt and I doubt that number includes any from Fon Du Lac.

The 2008 bulls-only moose hunting season in northeastern Minnesota ended on Sunday, Oct. 19, with hunters registering 111 bull moose at 11 registration stations scattered across Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties over the 16-day season. This compares with 115 bull moose harvested in northeastern Minnesota in 2007, which was the state’s first bulls-only season ever.
This year’s lottery included 239 once-in-a-lifetime bull-only moose tags issued in 30 zones to 237 hunting parties. Moose hunting is limited to resident hunters in parties of two to four hunters. Hunting success was 47 percent in 2008, compared with 50 percent in 2007.

     The people from the Fon Du Lac Reservation realize the moose population is declining.  They even cite it in their information on their website

Hunter harvest, land management practices and other human and natural trends on the Reservation and Ceded Territories will affect wildlife populations. 

Impending climate change will likely affect northern species such as moose, lynx or marten at the southern edge of their range on the Reservation and the Ceded Territories . 



Current resources devoted to the wildlife program are inadequate to fully address all of the issues, concerns and opportunities.



     I wonder what other information we aren’t being told.  Is the moose population really declining because of climate or is it because we don’t know even more facts?  I guess we’ll have to wait for Paul Harvey until we hear the rest of the story…