The only detail concerning non-tribal hunters is “none”

Javier Serna, Assistant Editor, Outdoor News Minnesota, recently did a great job revealing these details.

How is it that Grand Portage and Bois Forte bands of Ojibwe, and the Fond du Lac Band of Chippewa can hunt Moose whenever they want and decide how many they kill when Moose hunting by Minnesotans has been shut down for years?

The Moose have been in decline for years—but no problem—”since we only take a few.” The number doesn’t really matter because of tribal “culture” and “sustenance” reasons. Which obviously trump any sense of stewardship.

Furthermore, don’t ask the tribes any questions because we are not answering your calls.

The DNR will get started on updating the State’s moose-management plan (most recently updated in 2011) as soon as they figure out a plan for what to do with wolves in Minnesota.

PERM believes everyone should hunt and fish under the same rules. We call on state leadership to represent ALL citizens of Minnesota.

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Tribal moose hunt details revealed

By Javier Serna Assistant Editor Outdoor News Minnesota, September 10, 2021

Duluth, Minn. — The Grand Portage and Bois Forte bands of Ojibwe nearly are doubling their moose permits this fall in concurrent hunts that begin Oct. 2.

But while the 1854 Treaty Authority is making 34 total bulls only permits available to the two bands – 17 apiece to each band – members of each band may only harvest 10 animals, at which point the respective hunts would be shut down.

Last year, the two bands issued 18 bulls-only permits (nine apiece).

Seth Moore, director of biology and environment for the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, did not return phone messages from Outdoor News seeking comment.

Meanwhile, the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is planning to harvest 30 bulls this year (via 60 permits). That’s the same as last year’s harvest limit, which was increased from 24 in 2019.

“Last year, we wound up getting 31 moose,” said Mike Schrage, Fond du Lac wildlife biologist. “That’s just the way things work. (Hunters) have to register (their kills) within 24 hours of harvest. We were close. By the time we got all of the registrations in, we were at 31. It went well for tribal members. It was a fairly short season and they encountered a decent number of moose.”

While FdL’s hunt was scheduled to run through the end of December last year, the hunt ended about six days in, on Oct. 3.

Schrage said most of the moose are harvested in Cook and Lake counties, although there are moose-hunting zones in St. Louis County, too. The hunts take place in the area known as the 1854 ceded territory.

FdL’s hunt this year begins Sept. 25, potentially running through Dec. 31.

The tribal hunts are the only Minnesota moose hunts to resume after the Minnesota DNR shut down its residents-only, once-in a-lifetime hunts in 2012, following a steep moose population decline. The state estimated its northeast moose population at 8,800 in 2008, but estimated it at 4,230 in 2012 and 2,760 in 2013.

The annual winter aerial survey used to estimate the moose population was not conducted this past winter, with officials blaming COVID-19 and an inability to socially distance pilots and the rest of the crew inside small aircraft.

The most recent estimate, in 2020, was of 3,150 moose in the northeast range, which is consistent with the lower but stable moose population that state wildlife officials said has leveled off.

The DNR’s Division of Wildlife intends to take up the state’s moose-management plan next, but must first finish the wolf plan before moving on to moose.

The most recent moose management plan was updated in 2011, before the state embarked on a number of research projects that sought answers as to why the state’s moose population appeared to be in decline. DNR officials have given no indication what it might take, population-wise, to reinstate the state’s moose hunt.

While the state hasn’t apparently entertained the idea of restarting its annual moose hunt, the bands that hunt moose have said it is important to members for cultural and sustenance reasons, but that the limited hunts have no negative effect on the overall moose population, in part because they are so limited and also because no reproductive females are harvested.

For all three bands, permits allow for parties of three or four band members to kill one adult, antlered moose. Tribal hunters may hunt from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

The seasons are closed with 24-hour notice of reaching the quota, with each party’s lead hunter being contacted, and it is up to hunting parties to know if the season is still open before it heads out to hunt.

Bois Forte and Grand Portage hunters are required to register and tag their moose no later than 48 hours after they are harvested and before the animal is processed, whether that task is done commercially or privately.

Schrage said FdL’s harvest target is based on a three-year running average of the population estimate.

Because the bands may harvest up to 50 moose this year, in total, that doesn’t mean they will.

“There have been a couple of years when the band did not hit its harvest target,” Schrage said of FdL. “Like a lot of seasons, opening weekend and opening-week weather have a lot to do with it. If it is sunny and warm, moose are just not as active during the daytime. If it is cooler and wetter, then moose are more active during the day.”

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