Minnesota Moose Population Continues to Decline

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After conducting the aerial survey in Minnesota, state biologists have determined that the moose population continues to decline. The survey for 2011 estimated the population to be 4,900, the 2012 survey estimated the population at 4,230. In 2006 the population was estimated at 8,840, it has been a declining situation ever since.

Along with an annual survey, radio collars are being used to conduct the research. They are used to track the animals, and to possibly learn more about the causes of death. In 2002, 150 moose were collared. Out of the 150, 119 have been found dead. Most from unknown causes thought to be diseases or parasites. Ten moose died as a result of highway vehicle accidents. Two were killed by trains. Only 11 deaths were clearly the result of wolf predation.

From the 2012 aerial survey, some positive trends have been observed. There were more calves, with the moose, some had 2 calves. There were about 36 calves per 100 cow moose. This could increase the amount of adult moose, should they all survive. Also the bull to cow ratio of moose is improving, about 108 bulls to 100 cows.

All this new data will be given to the DNR who will then decide on the hunting season for 2012. Currently there is a bull moose only season and the permits have been reduced to 105 in previous years. With the bull to cow ratio increasing, it is expected for this year's season to be similar to that of last year. From BrainerdDispatch.com.