DNR To Propose Deer Permit Area Changes To Benefit Moose

A bull moose grazes on water lilies in the canoe country north of Ely. Photo by Sam Cook.
A bull moose grazes on water lilies in the canoe country north of Ely. Photo by Sam Cook.

In an effort to help maintain Minnesota’s declining moose herd, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources officials will propose a realignment of deer permit areas in Northeastern Minnesota, the agency has announced. Details of the proposed realignment won’t be made public until Friday.

The proposed changes grew out of discussions last winter among DNR wildlife officials and citizen advisory groups discussing deer population goals, said Dave Olfelt, DNR regional wildlife manager at Grand Rapids.

“It’s primarily for managing moose,” Olfelt said. “The intent is to be clearer about where we’re managing for moose and where we’re managing for deer.”

The proposal includes changing boundaries for some existing deer permit areas along the North Shore and inland, and also adding a new deer permit area, Olfelt said.

The proposal is aimed at reducing the passage of parasites and possible disease from deer to moose and increasing the number of deer in areas adjacent to the moose range. Deer carry a parasite called brainworm, which is a contributing factor in a substantial number of both health- and predator-related moose deaths among moose collared in the DNR’s adult moose mortality research project. Deer carry brainworm but suffer no health impacts. The parasite is fatal to moose and has long been suspected to be one of the contributing factors in Minnesota’s moose population decline.