DNR wrong putting moose over deer
The DNR has repeatedly used words like “could” and “may” and “possibly” to describe the impact of deer on the moose population. These are not scientific certainties. We rely on state agencies to use science, not guesswork to make decisions.
The DNR’s proposal to reduce deer populations in northeast Minnesota because this may possibly help the moose population is unacceptable. We want to see the state’s moose population rebound but we don’t want to see the DNR resort to unproven methods that have no scientific basis.
We’ve heard from numerous hunters since the DNR proposed lowering deer densities in this area in order to help the moose. The response has been overwhelmingly opposed. The deer population is already at a very low level and deer hunters can testify to this after countless hours in the woods this past November.
Hunters with some gray in their beards will also tell you when we had good moose populations years ago, we had good deer populations at the same time. If the DNR fears the brainworm that deer carry is causing moose to die, please explain why this is a problem today and wasn’t a problem for decades.
What we have continually heard from the DNR is they really don’t know if reducing deer levels to no more than 10 deer per square mile (and in some cases as low as three) will actually help. Our fear is that the DNR is proceeding without the science to back it up to reduce the deer population in the hope and prayer it could help the moose population.
This proposal needs to be exposed for what it is - a shot in the dark. And we believe a short-sighted shot at best. If there is now a movement within the DNR to put the moose above other forest animals, then we would like to make an obvious suggestion: Reduce the number of predators.
Thanks to the governor, the DNR can no longer put collars on moose to study them. There are still around 70 moose with collars on them, but these are adults. The DNR’s study of calf mortality using collars was just getting rolling when the governor stopped it. The early results were very clear: predators were killing moose calves at an alarmingly high rate. Fewer calves means fewer moose in the long run and yet the predator issue remains. It doesn’t seem right to attempt to manage deer to save moose but not wolves or bears, the two main predators when it comes to moose calves.
The proposal from the DNR left permit area 118, which surrounds Ely, unchanged as far as its boundaries. However, to the south of Ely major boundary changes were made. What we don’t know is how the DNR will use this directive to manage the deer population.
Hunters need to know that come this fall, the DNR could (may) (possibly) put in hunting regulations that will look to lower the deer population in 118 and other permit areas in the moose zone. Last year 118 was a bucks only permit area. If the DNR wants to save the moose by killing more deer, look for 118 to jump up to lottery or even hunter’s choice.
This could (may) (possibly) happen not because the deer population has rebounded but because the DNR has placed a higher value on moose. Instead of allowing the deer herd time to recover, we believe the DNR will forfeit the ability of a hunter to see a deer by cranking up the deer harvest too fast.
We’ll say what hunters in the Ely area are talking about. As long as the state and federal government are controlled by a liberal court on the East coast, there will be no management of the wolf population and therefore a losing battle to save the moose.
We don’t agree that the moose populations needs to be placed above the deer population and we certainly don’t believe wolves are not part of the equation. This isn’t science. This isn’t what we expect of a state agency in charge of wildlife. We expect more from the DNR. Forget could, may and possibly, this is just wrong.