Michigan “elusive” moose population to be hunted?

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Michigan will probably allow for licences to hunt moose, but the debate is on. Some scientists want to stop the new legislation. In the mid 1980’s, 59 moose were imported from Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada to western Marquette County in hopes of establishing a population that eventually could be hunted.

Hornfar

Michigan moving closer to allowing moose hunt

Original article here

Associated Press – December 15, 2010 5:24 PM ET LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan is moving closer to allowing a moose hunt. The state Legislature on Wednesday gave final approval to a bill that would allow the first open hunting season for moose in the state. The bill approved unanimously by the Senate and 82-9 by the House directs state officials to set up a moose hunting advisory council. The council would make a recommendation on how many moose should be allowed to be killed during a hunt and how long a season would last. Effects on the moose population would have to be considered. A moose hunting license would cost $100. The bill now goes to Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The moose hunting bill is Senate Bill 1013.

Scientists urge veto of moose hunting bill

They say little is known about long-term impact

JOHN FLESHER • ASSOCIATED PRESS • DECEMBER 21, 2010

Original article here

TRAVERSE CITY – A group of scientists mounted a last-ditch effort Monday to derail legislation that could lead to moose hunting in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, contending too little is known about the size of the herd and its long-term prospects for survival. Rolf Peterson, a Michigan Tech University moose expert, and 13 other biologists at Michigan universities sent a letter to Gov. Jennifer Granholm urging a veto of a bill that would create a panel to study the matter and recommend whether to allow the hunts. The measure cleared the Legislature this month with little opposition.

Granholm had not signed the measure as of Monday but plans to do so, spokeswoman Katie Carey said, adding that she didn’t know whether the scientists’ eleventh-hour appeal would sway the outgoing Democratic governor.

Elusive Animals

Wildlife managers believe roughly 500 moose wander Michigan’s far north but acknowledge it’s hard to pinpoint the exact number of the elusive mammals. Peterson said the herd has reached only about half the total anticipated in the mid-1980s, when officials hauled 59 moose from Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, to western Marquette County in hopes of establishing a population that eventually could be hunted.

The moose are “seriously challenged by ecological conditions,” the scientists’ letter said. “Decisions about whether or how to hunt moose in Michigan should be delayed until an independent scientific panel comprised of appropriate experts evaluates the relevant issues.”

Sen. Jason Allen, a Traverse City Republican who sponsored the bill, said it doesn’t require a moose hunt but simply authorizes the study. The final call would be made by the Natural Resources Commission, which sets state hunting and fishing policy, he said.

Number Of Factors

Scientists believe a number of factors probably have limited growth of the herd, including an increase in numbers of whitetail deer, which carry a brainworm parasite that is fatal to moose. The warming climate also may be a problem. Moose are cold-weather animals and the Upper Peninsula is on the southern fringe of their comfort zone, said Brian Roell, the DNRE’s moose specialist.

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