Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- According to an annual aerial survey, moose populations continue to decline in Northern Minnesota. So far in 2012, population numbers dropped from about 4,900 in 2011 to 4, 230.
Back in 2006, moose populations were estimated at 8, 840. In just 6 years, the moose population has been cut in half.
Researchers still do not understand moose mortality very well. Back in 2002, 150 adult moose were radio-collared. 119 of those moose have since died, most from unknown causes such as disease or parasites.
However there is some good news. The number of moose calves has increased in 2012, bumping up the ratio of cow-to-calf to an estimated 36 to 100. However, cow-to-calf ratios are still lower than estimates in the 1990s.
Also, male-to-female moose ratios increased from 2011 to an estimated 108 bulls to 100 cows.
However, even with possible signs of an upward trend in moose populations, the DNR will still be evaluating population data before making a decision on a moose hunting season 2012.
Last fall, the DNR cut the number of moose-hunting permits by more than half, from 213 in 2010 to 105.
The decision on a 2012 moose season will be announced in the coming weeks.
Posted to the web by Krista Burns