2005 Northeastern Moose Hunt Successful

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The 2005 moose hunting season in northeastern Minnesota ended Sunday, Oct. 16, with hunters registering 162 moose at eight registration stations scattered across Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties over the 16-day season. More moose were harvested than the last two years.

In the 2005 lottery, 284 once-in-a-lifetime moose tags were issued in 30 zones. Moose hunting is limited to resident hunters in parties of two to four hunters. Hunting success dropped for the third successive year to 57 percent. Party success was 61 percent in 2004 when 246 parties took 149 moose and 64 percent in 2003 when 224 parties took 143 moose.

Harvest was heavily biased toward adult bulls, as has been common over the last 10 years, according to Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wildlife managers. The higher number of bulls in the harvest may be the reason for the lower hunter success rate. Some hunters pass up cows and calves in search of antlered bulls in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The bag limit is one moose of any age or either sex per party.

This season, hunters faced a mixed bag of fall hunting conditions including heavy rain, high wind and unseasonably warm fall weather conditions. Hunters reported good moose rutting activity, as the breeding period was in full swing. Many successful hunters used calling to bring their moose within range.

DNR biologists report only three of the 54 radio collared moose were harvested during the season. There is an ongoing moose mortality study in Lake and Cook counties. Collared moose are fair game. At moose hunter orientation prior to the season, hunters are told to ignore the collars in their search for a moose because researchers want to get a better idea of the importance of hunting as a source of mortality.

The northeastern Minnesota moose population is estimated at 6,500 animals throughout St. Louis, Lake and Cook counties. The harvest goal is conservatively set at 5 percent of the winter population.

MOOSE REGISTRATION -- TWO HARBORS AREA WILDLIFE Conoco Little Store (Two Harbors) 28 Beaver Bay Sports (Beaver Bay) 6 Wildhurst Campground (Finland) 29 Buck's Hardware (Grand Marais) 45 ===== Total 108

TOWER AREA WILDLIFE Lucky 7 (Ely) 23 Mooseline Cafe (Palo) 10 Lucky 7 (Virginia) 10 ====== Total 43

INTERNATIONAL FALLS AREA WIDLIFE Pelican Bay IGA (Orr) : 11 ====== Total 11

Northeast total: 162