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.