Minnesota: Ban Deer Feeding to Save Moose

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

The moose population has been declining rapidly during the last few years in Minnesota. In the northwest portion of the state the population has dropped from 4000 to around 100. The Department of Natural Resources thinks banning recreational deer feeding may help save the moose. The state needs to determine if they want moose in the state and if yes how to save that existing population.

Two proposals to consider are ending recreational deer feeding in the northeast part of the state and to end moose hunting as well.

Feeding deer exposes them to disease, creates unnatural concentrations, increases deer-vehicle collisions and can destroy vegetation, he said. "There's a laundry list of reasons why you shouldn't feed deer,'' Lou Cornicelli, DNR big game program leader said. And, he said, deer don't need the supplemental food. They are unsure whether they have the ability to put a ban on deer feeding though or if it needs legislative approval. Their goal number of deer is 10 deer per square mile, in the moose habitats. That is present in all except one of the management units.

The DNR does not believe hunting is what has created the decline in the moose population. Hunters are responsible for less than 200 moose deaths a year. This year there are even less licenses available. 105 licenses are available this year compared to 213 last year, and it is estimated 50 moose will be killed. Also the money that comes in from hunting is what supports moose research and habitat. Last year fees from the licenses and applications brought in $90,000 for the state to work on moose research and management.

Wolves are not believed to be the culprit in the moose demise either. Climate and habitat changes, parasites, impacts from deer and predation all could be causes. From Star Tribune.


Retired2hunt's picture

  Yes, I agree that the 100


Yes, I agree that the 100 number has to be a typo - at least I hope it is!  I can't see a population being wiped out in one year - as that is what this is if they went from 4000 to 100.  Also agree that they wouldn't offer 100 tags to get a 50 animal harvest on a meager population of 100.  So they had to miss a zero there.  Minnesota has had larger decreases in their moose populations in other years - specifically 2005 to 2006 where they lost 5000 animals.  Now I can't find reasoning on that whether it was hunting or a massive disease that assisted in the loss.  Here is the web site that contains the most current data that I could find.  http://www.nrri.umn.edu/moose/

I would hope that the state's DNR can correctly determine the cause and implement agressive measures to correct this for the state's wildlife well being.


hunter25's picture

I have read about this

I have read about this somewhere else but can't remember if it was here or not. I was shocked at how much of a reduction this herd has undergone but wonder if they have overstated it some or made a mistake in the number printed. It shows being down to nearly 100 animals but yet they still plan to offer over 100 tags? That just doesn't sound right to me. I really doubt that feeding deer has much of anything to do with this decline but I suppose they have to try and blame something. They don't want to accuse the wolves or hunting but choose instead to blame climate and habitat change. Of course after saying it's not the wolves they then list predation as being a factor. I think there is a bit of confusion in this whole story.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Yeah, hunter, I thought the

Yeah, hunter, I thought the same thing.  I wonder if it is a misprint. There is no way they would issue 100 tags, if that was the entire moose population of the area.  I am wondering if they left off a zero, and it should be "1,000".

Another example of people thinking they are being helpful to the animals, when in actuality, they are really hurting them.  They will not listen though, as they do not see the big picture.  They think that it's so cute to see the animals come into their backyard to eat.  Their view of, and appreciation for wildlife does not extend past their backyards.