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Field reports: Minnesota moose numbers show little improvement

As reported in the News Tribune this past week, Northeastern Minnesota's moose herd appears to have held steady over the past year, but wildlife biologists say they still are worried that moose numbers remain precariously low.The Minnesota Depart...

As reported in the News Tribune this past week, Northeastern Minnesota’s moose herd appears to have held steady over the past year, but wildlife biologists say they still are worried that moose numbers remain precariously low.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday released the result of the agency’s annual moose survey that estimated this winter’s population at about 4,020.
That’s up a bit from 3,450 moose estimated in 2015, but wildlife experts say the change is statistically insignificant.
Overall, moose numbers remain less than half what they were a decade ago, when the population reached 8,840.
“Moose are not recovering in Northeastern Minnesota,” said Glenn DelGiudice, moose project leader for the DNR, in a statement with the survey results. “It’s encouraging to see that the decline in the population since 2012 has not been as steep, but longer-term projections continue to indicate that our moose population decline will continue.”
There was some good news in the survey results: Researchers said about 17 percent of Minnesota moose observed were calves. That’s up from 13 percent in 2015 and
15 percent in 2014. More cows also had two calves with them, rather than just one - 5 percent this year, up from 3 percent in recent years and just 1 percent in 2011 - a trend that needs to continue if the population is to increase.
Survey results and population estimates bounce up and down from year to year, reflecting both actual population changes and, sometimes, weather conditions during the survey.

Hearing set on lake trout rule
A public hearing on an emergency rule to support continued recovery of lake trout populations in Lake Superior will be held by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at
5 p.m. Tuesday at the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland.
The public hearing will cover the 2015-16 emergency rule adopted by the Natural Resources Board at its December meeting as well as two proposed 60-day extensions to cover the season through Sept. 30.

Wisconsin to hold waterfowl meeting
In the next few weeks, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine the annual federal waterfowl structure under which states within the Mississippi Flyway may establish waterfowl hunting seasons. These federal season proposals will be the subject of a series of public meetings throughout Wisconsin in mid-March.
Once every five years, Wisconsin is given the opportunity to review duck zone structure. This will be an important topic in 2016, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
One meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 15 at the AmeriVu Inn, 1710 S. Main St., Rice Lake.

Related Topics: LAKE SUPERIORHUNTINGFISHING
Sam Cook is a freelance writer for the News Tribune. Reach him at cooksam48@gmail.com or find his Facebook page at facebook.com/sam.cook.5249.
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