I wish I could say there was something good to report about moose in Minnesota but I can’t. The population continues to decline and although biologists know what is killing the majority of them there isn’t much that can be done for them that isn’t controversial.
Moose in Northern Minnesota have a few strikes against them. The change in climate can be blamed for some of their challenges. Warmer weather during the winter seasons has contributed to the deer herd moving north. When we first moved to the end of the Gunflint Trail in 1993 it was a rare occurence to see a deer. They didn’t do well in the woods due to the extremely cold temperatures, deep snow and lack of food for them. As winters got warmer the deer moved north and brought with them brain worm.
Deer can survive with brain worm but moose don’t fair as well. In their weakened state they are more likely to get attacked by other prey or die of starvation.
The moose population isn’t well nourished. Researchers have concluded on the warmer days of winter moose don’t eat as much as they need to. That combined with the shorter winters that don’t kill of the tick population also contributes to their not as strong as they should be state.
Combine that with the very healthy population of wolves and we have a clear picture of why the moose herd is declining in Minnesota.
What can be done? The deer herd on the Gunflint Trail has dropped dramatically over the past few years. For the moose that is great news but there are a few folks who want to hunt deer up here. In my opinion there are plenty of other places to hunt for deer in Minnesota and elsewhere. Is there a state where there a state there isn’t a deer hunt?
The wolf population in Northern Minnesota needs special management. Why have Fish and Wildlife Divisions in each state or a Department of Natural Resources if they aren’t allowed to manage separate from the bigger picture? We shouldn’t have to suffer because other places in the lower 48 don’t have wolves, we don’t want all of them here.
This article explains the situation better and I encourage you to read it.
Dwindling herd, survey taken every January.
CAUSES OF MOOSE MORTALITY, 2013-2016
Of 47 documented moose deaths from February 2013 to January 2016, most were from illness.
|16||Confirmed and suspected wolf kills|
|15||Parasites (brainworm, winter ticks, liver flukes, other parasites)|
|10||Bacterial infection/ predator related|
|5||Undetermined health problems|