- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A three-year hunting reprieve for the struggling moose population in Minnesota has ended with the planned shooting of 38 bulls by three Chippewa tribes.

The targeting of moose ends a three-year period when state and tribal game managers stopped moose hunting because of an alarming population decline in Minnesota’s Arrowhead region, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/2erLVqL ) reported.

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa members have already killed 25 of the moose in a legal hunt that went against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ wishes.

The state now is negotiating with the Bois Forte and Grand Portage bands for significantly smaller, ceremonial hunts expected to occur before the end of the year.

“We just don’t feel it’s appropriate to hunt moose in this time when they have declined significantly,” said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife population’s program manager.

Seth Moore, director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage band, said the tribes’ hiatus from moose hunting stemmed from sociological concern at a time when uncertainty surrounded a plunge in the population.

“We’ve been sacrificing the hunt for the benefit of the moose population, but it doesn’t have a population effect,” said Moore.

The DNR estimates the population to be under 4,000 animals. Brainworm transmitted by deer has been a prime contributor to the decline. But predation by wolves and bears, ticks and climate change have all contributed to the decline.

Merchant said there are other reasons not to hunt moose at this time, including an ongoing federal review that may list moose as an endangered species in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Fond du Lac band officials declined to comment on the matter.


Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com

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