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Some worry about Minnesota moose numbers, but DNR says hunt will go on

No one is sure why the moose numbers are down, but DNR says the annual hunt does not adversely affect the population.

While no one seems to know for sure why the moose population in Minnesota is declining, the state DNR says hunting isn’t the problem and plans another limited hunt in the fall.

The Duluth News Tribune says 45 bulls were taken last fall by licensed hunters. A “tribal harvest” brings the number closer to 100.

The state’s moose population is estimated at 4,230 animals.

John Pastor, a moose researcher and biology professor at UMD, said it’s time to stop the hunt, even though it’s popular among hunters.

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“I think the safest thing would be to not hunt them,” Pastor said. “I don’t see any reason to hunt them. … I think it would be a good thing not to hunt them for a year or two.”

And state Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake, who is an avid hunter, told the paper he plans to hold hearings on the moose situation:

“It will be a broader discussion than that [hunting],” Dill said. “I don’t believe the hunter is the villain. There have to be other factors causing it.”