DNR proposes moose as endangered species

Growing up in northern Minnesota in the ’80s and ’90s, we saw moose in the woods just outside the Iron Range. No, we didn’t see moose every day, the way we often see whitetail deer. But you saw a moose or two every year, more if you lived farther north than the Range.

Those days are gone. The last time I saw a moose in the wild was the year 2000. People I know who hunt or photograph moose are having a heck of a time seeing them anywhere, and for good reason. The species is dying and climate change is the top culprit.

Now the Minnesota DNR proposes to name the moose as an endangered species, but there’s real question as to whether these efforts are just too late to save Bullwinkle in Frostbite Falls. Controversy is expected because the listing would end moose hunting in Minnesota unless and until the population recovers.

UPDATE: My mistake, I misread the story. This would elevate the moose on the “species of concern” and put it on the endangered list, but not quite trigger the end of the hunting season. Nevertheless, the hunting season is one of the things at stake in the long run.

IMAGE: Graphic by Aaron Brown, with screen images from “Bullwinkle” cartoon and Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”


  1. Climate change is killing the moose, really?

    I lived in northern MN for 30 years and spent a lot of time outdoors and in remote areas, I hardly ever saw moose. I don’t think that not seeing a moose since 2000 is any big deal.

    Scientist have known for many years that moose in our part of the country struggle with some kind of brain worms or something. There has never been a big population in the Range.

    This is just another excuse to wave the climate change flag. If you were a researcher that wanted to study moose and were looking for funding which would sound better, I wonder why the moose population is not thriving or I think CLIMATE CHANGE is killing our moose.


  2. I probably should have better explained my reasoning there. Yes, the “brain worms” (the most concise description of the condition I’ve seen) are causing the moose deaths, but the leading theory is that those worms are coming from the fact that the moose are in warmer waters and are exposed to changing environment. Nobody who observes northern Minnesota climate that I’ve talked to denies that the climate here is changing dramatically, sending some animals north and harming populations of others. And these aren’t hippies. These guys shoot wolves.

  3. People don’t live long enough to notice climate change. Differances in temperature from one year to another are not changes in climate, it’s weather!

    The brain worms are not a new problem. They have been studying them since long before anybody worried about global warming. Minnesota sits on the edge of the moose habitate, if you go to Iowa there are no moose, if you go north to Canada there are a lot.


  4. Right, and the point that scientists and most of the wildlife guys I hear from up here is that that “line” is moving north. The disease is expanding because animals are caught in a rapidly changing enviornment. We can dither over the details, but the fact is that the number of moose in Minnesota has plummetted and they’re almost gone. No, not extinct. Populations are healthy where moose have the right environmental conditions. Climates change over great periods of time, yes, but the argument that has the bulk of scientific backing is that the climiate is currently changing faster than it normally does. That’s observable.

  5. “This is the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature. The last below-average month was February 1985. The last October with a below-average temperature was 1976.”


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