The Minnesota moose population

October 9, 2009 at 5:37 am 3 comments

There’s been a lot of news lately about declining moose populations in Minnesota.  According to NRRI, the northwest Minnesota population has declined from over 4,000 to fewer than 100 over the past 20 years.  There’s some concern now about a decline in northeastern Minnesota as well.

The following announcement is from the KAXE radio website:

MooseCalfWe talked with Mark Johnson, Executive Director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, about what he learned as a member of theMinnesota Moose Advisory Committee. The Minnesota moose population is facing a lot of biological and natural threats, and has seen sharp declines in the Northwestern part of the state.

While the decline has not been as dramatic in Northeastern Minnesota, biologists and others interested in moose populations are still concerned. Mark indicated that we have a lot to learn about what is affecting the population, and one of the ways that you can help is to report your moose sightings on a special website.Please report your moose sighting(s) here, or read why it’s important to report what you see.

Read more about what’s happening to moose in Northeastern Minnesota on NRRI’s Moose in Minnesota website.


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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lori Manning  |  October 13, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I am greatly concerned with the consistent decline in the moose population and wondering why they are still hunted? What will it take to put an end to moose hunting until the population is healthy again? It makes little sense to me….

    We try to head north to the Ely or Gunflint Trail region 1-3 times per year and always look for moose. It’s rare these days, but I was fortunate enough to see a young yearling last May on the Gunflint trail crossing the road, just near the intersection of Moose Pond Road.

    Please let me know if there is a way I can be involved to stop MN moose hunting.

    Thanks very much,

  • 2. Eli Sagor  |  October 13, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Lori. Thanks for the comment. We’re all concerned about the long-term viability of moose in Minnesota. But it’s pretty clear that hunting is not the cause of the recent population declines.

    There’s a ton of information about the status of moose in Minnesota, including policy recommendations, from the Minnesota Moose Advisory Committee at

    The committee was chaired by Rolf Peterson, perhaps most famous for his wolf population research on Isle Royale.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  • 3. Lori Manning  |  October 20, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Hi Eli –

    I greatly appreciate receiving your reply.

    I concur that although hunting is not the cause for the significant decline in the NW Minnesota moose population, however I still question the justification for allowing the hunting of moose, period. It’s clear we are not “harvesting” moose, but allowing the hunt for sporting purposes.

    I am somewhat familiar with Dr. Peterson’s work on Isle Royale and other MN areas relative to moose/wolf populations. I respect his work greatly.

    My question remains, if the moose population has declined from 4,000 to less than 100 over the past 20 years as your article states, does common sense recommend that we discontinue, or at best, pause the issuance of moose hunting licenses until the population can become healthy? Could we sleep well if the last remaining moose were shot for trophy purposes simply because we did absolutely nothing about it? I think not. It would be hard to explain that to our children.

    Respectfully yours,


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