By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 2/12/19 (Tue)
Back in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, the animated TV character Bullwinkle was about the only moose
By the late 1960s, moose began moving into the Pembina Hills and established a population until 1977 when an estimated 260 animals were recorded by the North Dakota Game & Fish Department to be a nuisance for area landowners.
Also in 1977, Game & Fish issued 10 moose licenses in the Walhalla area and by 1985, that number was bumped up to 100.
If you were a North Dakota resident and had never seen a moose before, all you would have had to do is take a drive to the Pembina Gorge or the Frost Fire area of
A similar phenomenon was happening in the
Still, Game & Fish continued to issue 100 once-in-a-lifetime licenses every year to bag an animal in either of those two locations.
But biology began to change the legacy of this huge, cumbersome animal. The moose population in the northeast was found with brain worm and the population began to thin out.
As that was being discovered, most of the moose population in
Brain worm is uncommon in the northwest and another moose disease, liver fluke, had never been recorded in the northwestern quadrant.
Data analysis continues on a three-year moose research study in the Kenmare area and the
The research focuses on annual survival, cause-specific mortality, reproduction rates, annual and seasonal movements and home range use, as well as seasonal habitat selection.
“The value of this research is a great thing as it will have direct management implications on moose in
The moose hunting season in the northeast was halted in 2005 and hasn’t been reinstated. However, Game & Fish maintained its 100 licenses until 2015 when the number was bumped up to 200, primarily because additional moose were now being seen in the
In 2018, Game & Fish issued a whopping 334 moose licenses because the population in areas outside of the Pembina Hills is growing that rapidly, according to Game & Fish.
Unfortunately, along with the population increase comes an uptick in moose/vehicle collisions. They are becoming more frequent, especially in the northwest.
We all realize that hitting a deer will cause substantial damage to a vehicle. Now think about an animal that weighs 1,000 pounds instead of a deer, which is usually 150 to 200 pounds?
Two recent accidents involved a semi-trailer hitting a moose on N.D. Highway 5 near Tolley. The semi cab was a total loss. And, an elderly
Game & Fish advises that if we encounter a moose on the highway, we should stop as quickly as possible, but not to swerve as that could cause us to lose control of the vehicle. If you can’t stop in time, the best thing to do is slow as much as possible and hit it head on.
And what do you do if you hit one? Assess the damage and call law enforcement to put it down because chances are, you won’t kill it.
Moose, especially males, like to wander and will frequently cross less traveled
We like to see additional wildlife in the state, but we need to be careful on the highway and hunters can enjoy much better odds.