Minnesota: Ban Deer Feeding to Save Moose
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.