Duh! Minnesota Moose Population Still Declining

     I’m not sure what the moose experts expected to find when they disturbed my wilderness snowshoe trek in January by hovering their helicopter above me but what they didn’t find was an exploding moose population.  They found what anyone who lives on the Gunflint Trail could tell you without the assistance of a chopper; the trend of the moose population decline is still a downward one.

     The aerial survey confirmed what everyone already expected, fewer moose in Northeastern Minnesota.  In 2008 there were an estimated 7593 moose and in 2009 that number is now estimated at 5528.  The survey can tell us the bull cow ratio, the number of cows with twins and a bunch of other statistics.  The survey can not tell us why the number continues to decline and neither can the experts.   

     The DNR does know the reason there are 145 fewer moose in Northeastern Minnesota and you can find that information by looking at the Minnesota moose hunt results for 2009.  State hunters "harvested" 103 moose while the 1854 Treaty Authority allowed 42 moose to be "harvested."  How many moose are shot and left for dead or shot, wounded and then die later is not recorded anywhere but my guess is you could add another dozen deaths attributed to the hunting of moose.

     The Minnesota moose population continues to decline and that is not surprising.  I’m just surprised at all of the money and time spent flying the skies to determine what we already know.  We have the data and the DNR has had the data for a number of years.  The mystery of the declining moose population continues as does the mystery of what the DNR is planning to do about it.