Moose news good, 
at least in Colorado

For reasons still unknown, many of the nation’s moose herds are in serious decline. The one exception seems to be Colorado, where moose numbers continue to increase as the animals spread to new habitat.

Colorado is one of the few states where moose are doing well, said state big-game manager Andy Holland during Thursday’s meeting of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission.

“Because of moose declines elsewhere, we have a lot of demand for our moose season,” he said.

Colorado has an estimated 2,250 moose in 39 game-management units. Last year, there were 18,360 applicants vying for the 228 licenses available.

This year, the state will offer 250 moose licenses.

For reasons unknown, many of the nation’s largest moose herds are fading away.

Last October, a story in the New York Times reported moose populations in Minnesota have virtually disappeared.

Twenty years ago, one of that state’s two geographically separate moose populations had approximately 4,000 animals. Today, it’s below 100.

The other population, in northeastern Minnesota, is estimated to be fewer than 3,000, down from 8,000, declining close to 25 percent a year.

As a result, wildlife officials have suspended all moose hunting in Minnesota.

Montana recently cut its moose hunting permits to 362, down from 769 in 1995.

No one knows why the moose are dying off, Holland said.

He said a variety of reasons, ranging from an increase in deadly parasites caused by climate change to wolf predation in the West, have been suggested.

“No one knows,” Holland said. “But for now, our moose herds are doing well.”


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