DULUTH, Minn. — The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is planning to host an off-reservation moose hunt across a large portion of northeast Minnesota, despite the state’s objections.
MPRNews (http://bit.ly/2cInoxm ) reports that the band posted a notice on its website that says the hunt will begin Saturday and continue through the end of the year, or until 25 bull moose are killed.
Besides the general hunt by tribal members, the band will also seek to take an additional three moose for “community needs.”
The notice says the band reached its decision after carefully considering biological data that shows the moose herd population has stabilized in recent years.
The hunt will take place in an area known as the 1854 Ceded Territory, a large chunk of off-reservation land in the Arrowhead region where the band retains the right to hunt and fish on territory it ceded to the federal government in an 1854 treaty.
The newspaper couldn’t reach Fond du Lac Chairman Kevin DuPuis for comment.
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wildlife population and regulation manager Steve Merchant said the department asked the band to reconsider, but acknowledged that they have the right to hunt in the area.
Merchant disagrees with the band’s belief that the moose population has stabilized.
“We think it’s a bit premature to say that,” he said. “We’re still concerned that the moose population is in decline. I think that we have good reason to believe that when we look at some of the health issues that are going on.”
The moose population in northeast Minnesota has plummeted by 55 percent in the last decade, from a high of an estimated 8,840 animals in 2006, to about 4,020 moose in the most recent state survey released in February.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org