Minnesota’s New Moose Research & Management Plan

After studying the Minnesota Moose Research and Management Plan just released by our Department of Natural Resources, I believe this plan to bring a halt to the vexing problem of dwindling moose numbers in our state is as well-conceived and as scientifically sound as it can be under current circumstances. What I mean by “under current circumstances” is this: based wholly on what I have annually discovered in one small portion of Minnesota’s designated moose management area since 1990, I believe any plan that does not take into account the enormous impact our overabundant, long-unmanaged grey wolves have been having on moose and deer is terribly handicapped. I realize our DNR is currently powerless to manage our wolves, protected by federal judges and the Endangered Species Act. Nonetheless I can’t help but fear reducing deer numbers in the moose management area may not only force wolves to kill greater numbers of moose, exacerbating their demise, but force wolves to kill a greater percentage of remaining deer as well. This wouldn’t be good for moose, deer or wolves far into the future.

However, I also understand the urgency to proceed with this plan. Without trying to save our moose and without the funded research necessary to succeed, we may loose them all and never know why.

Minnesota Moose Research and Management Plan

DNR’s Main Page on Moose (Has a link to the new management plan.)

DNR’s Moose Hunting Page  (Has a link to the new management plan.)

 

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Attention Minnesota Deer Hunters

Attention Minnesota Deer Hunters,

Moose numbers are declining throughout North America, even in Alaska (where there are no whitetail deer). Though grey wolves are proven to responsible for the demise of more moose annually than anything else, our Minnesota DNR has decided brain worms are the primary culprit. Because Minnesota’s white-tailed deer are also afflicted by brain worms but do not die as a result, they are now considered “carriers” and are being blamed for the decline of our moose. Moose, themselves, are carriers.

Other reasons for this decline have been suggested by researchers all across the U.S. and Canada, including liver flukes, winter ticks, bacterial infections, poor health (perhaps wrought by unsuitable habitat) and climate change. MDNR (Minnesota DNR) researchers recently concluded moose numbers will not improve by reducing deer numbers. Another recent study revealed reducing deer numbers does not improve moose numbers where whitetail populations are less than 15 per square-mile. Whitetail numbers do not exceed 15 per square-mile in northeastern Minnesota. Nonetheless, our MDNR plans to reduce deer numbers, already very low in northeastern Minnesota due to recent severe winters, within a newly designated moose range.

What, then, will become the primary food of the unmanaged, overabundant grey wolves of that region, still ironically considered “threatened” but at a historic high just across the border in Ontario? What else? Moose meat, of course.

Logically, therefore, forsaking whitetails for this cause is only going to accelerate the demise of Minnesota’s remaining moose.

Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources is currently asking citizen’s to voice their opinion about this plan. Deer hunters, please do it soon. Email: info.dnr@mn.state.us or write to: Moose Plan, MDNR Central Office, 500 Lafayette Rd., MN 55155-4040

Check for the latest Minnesota DNR press releases at:
News releases

Thank you,
Dr. Ken Nordberg

Key words: moose, whitetails, Minnesota, MN, OnlyInMN, brain worms, grey wolves, timberwolves.

Letter to Michael Nelson, Minnesota State Representative

Dear Mike,

Some statements made by our MDNR Commissioner (I wasn’t paying attention at first but I believe it was Commissioner Landwehr) in a recent newscast were so incredible that I felt obliged to do something about it. I sent a report to the MDNR that explains what has been happening to whitetail, wolf and moose numbers in my St. Louis County Whitetail Study area since 1990 and further explained why the commissioner’s plan for increasing moose numbers would be a terrible mistake.

The commissioner mentioned reducing deer numbers by half in northeast Minnesota to restore our dwindling moose population to, among other things, save our reputation as a state famous for “moose-watching.”  He also mentioned moose numbers are fine on Isle Royal where there are no deer, the implication being obvious. This was a startling revelation.

As you know, I am a writer well known for my hunting-related studies of whitetails (plus black bears and wolves) in Minnesota and elsewhere in the U.S. since 1970. I have published thirteen books based on my studies since 1988 and I am about to publish two more. I have written more than 700 articles about whitetails and whitetail hunting for various outdoor magazines since 1980 and I’ve been a feature writer, writing about whitetails and whitetail hunting, for MidWest Outdoor Magazine throughout the past 25 years. My primary whitetail study area since 1990 is located in St. Louis County.

Knowing you are an avid deer hunter and being my State Representative, I am sending a copy of my report to you for two reasons: 1) I want someone in our state government to understand why the commissioners plan is a mistake and 2) if our state government has any influence over what our DNR proposes to do, it would be good if this plan could somehow be discouraged by representatives in our state government (if for no other reason than it needs more study). I sincerely hope what you and others learn from my report will help influence those who favor reducing deer herds in the Arrowhead to change their minds.

Thank you,

Dr. Ken Nordberg