Hook and Bullet Club by Nick wognum - Moose, bear and wolves

While it may be too cold this weekend to spend much time outdoors, here’s a couple of things to gnaw on as you’re staring out the window.
Dave Mech, the world renowned wolf researcher, has released another study. This time he and his co-authors looked at the correlation in the moose and wolf populations, according to a story in the Duluth News-Tribune.
Here’s what they found. As the number of moose plummeted in northeast Minnesota, the number of wolves increased. Fewer moose, more wolves.
Mech looked at the survival rate of moose calves, something the DNR has failed to account for and at times ignored in studying moose populations.
The study reports a correlation between moose calves and wolf numbers. More calves survive when there are fewer wolves.
What’s the takeaway? The DNR should pay much more attention to the wolf population if they want the moose population to recover.
For three years wolves were off the federal protected list. Hunting and trapping helped to lower the number of wolves in the state. Fewer wolves, more moose.
Yet the DNR has sat on its laurels and has done nothing to try to get the wolf back under state control. From the DNR commissioner we hear crickets when it comes to pursuing legislation in Washington D.C. to get wolves in Minnesota off the federal protected list.
Instead we’ve seen an increasing level of wolf predation on pets and livestock and fewer moose since the calves are being eaten by wolves and other predators, including bears.
Mech is a hunter and knows his way around the woods. He won’t be buffaloed by those who fail to use science and common sense. Our Minnesota DNR would be wise to follow his lead and do more than try to kill more deer in order to save the moose.
Speaking of the DNR, let’s take a look at the other topic of interest. How about the bear that attacked the two Ely contractors in December?
The Star Tribune reports DNR bear research biologist Dave Garshelis believes the animal “was deranged by severe brain swelling” and may have had a collar on it at one time.
Well after Gary Jerich hit that bear as hard as he could in the head with the blunt end of a shovel, there’s a pretty good explanation as to why the severe brain damage occurred.
As Dan Boedeker (who was under the bear at the time) said, “When he hit the bear it went down and his eyes rolled back.” Brain damage via shovel.
As to the “two external abnormalities that suggest the animal possibly was captive at one time,” it may have been from a collar. But it may have been from something else as well. It could have been a snare, the bear could’ve gotten wrapped up in a rope or cable, who knows.
The third thing the DNR found was its back claws were clipped or had been damaged from a hard surface. That leads the DNR to think this bear may have been someone’s pet at one time.
We checked around and did not find anyone reporting a bear in a cage in front of an Ely outfitter recently.
Anyway, the bear was a male, nearly three years old and weighed just under 140 pounds.
You can bet on this, that bear did not come from the Eagles Nest area. With all the feeding going on out there, you can’t find a three year old bear that weighs a mere 140 pounds.
So what to make of all this? Wolves are part of the reason we have fewer moose. Period. If the DNR wants to put together a management plan to help the moose recover, failing to include reducing the wolf population is not only foolish, it’s impractical.
And bears can be a problem. If we ever find out this bear was someone’s pet, that will likely help explain why it turned on Gary and Dan and tried to kill them. Thankfully, the bear is dead.
With that in mind, keep looking out the window. Spring will be here soon.