September 22, 2023

Minnesota Big Game Research

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Minnesota is conducting game research which includes aerial game counts and testing of deer for disease. The testing of bovine tuberculosis is underway near Skime, where beef animals have tested positive for the disease. Two local landowners were issued permits to kill deer on land where beef critters have the disease. The deer are being tested for bovine tuberculosis.

According to Paul Telander, a regional wildlife manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the lymph nodes from the 32 deer killed have been sent away for testing. Results could be available by this week sometime.

The DNR began a program to further test for the disease after a 5 1/2 year old buck was diagnosed with it. The deer was shot during opening weekend last year. 474 lymph node samples were collected and sent for testing. Only one came back positive.

Also, aerial surveys of moose in the northwest portion of the state, continue to show no signs of the moose herd improving. The moose population in that part of the state has been on the decline in recent years and wildlife experts have no known remedy for the problem.

DNR officials say there are two basic reasons they have been able to come up with for the drastic decline – climatic changes and parasites.

According to 41 years of climate data, the average temperature during the winter months in that area of Minnesota has risen 12 degrees. During the summer, 4 degrees. With the rise in temperature, moose exert much more energy to stay cool and that leads to malnutrition, parasites and many other factors that might have an affect of reproduction.

Deer on the other hand are doing great in the northwest part of the state, with the exception of one area in the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge. Aerial surveys in that area have shown a decline in deer population and authorities don’t know why. This may force officials to changes hunting permits for this area until they can better understand the situation.

Tom Remington