August 21, 2019

The Shameful Saga of the Minnesota Moose

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The following is an Abstract of a scientific research paper “Re-evaluating the northeastern Minnesota moose decline and the role of wolves”.

This research Paper was just published and can be found in The Journal of Wildlife Management 78(7) 1143-1150.

It was conducted and published by none other than Dr. Mech, the retired US Fish and Wildlife Service Wolf authority (still associated with the federal Wildlife research Center in Jamestown, ND and a major player with the August U of Minnesota Raptor Center). His co-author, Mr. Fieberg, is a biologist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The mind boggles at the “gravitas” here. Mr. Mech, a long-time and current resident of Minnesota is highly revered in Minnesota and known internationally for his lifelong efforts to “bring back” wolves in The Lower 48 States. Dr. Mech resides in Minnesota and is held in as high regard in Minnesota as the latest running back of the Vikings football team. When he authors a paper on Minnesota wolves and Minnesota moose in cooperation with a DNR biologist under the auspices of the University of Minnesota; there can be no greater authorities nor can there be any greater acceptance about the results than had ex-Vikings Coach Bud Grant commented on Vikings football or Hubert Humphrey, rest his soul, commented on the upcoming election.

To the newspaper editors and outdoor writers that have treated me like an idiot for asking them to publicize or at least acknowledge that wolf predation on Minnesota moose was both significant and very likely the #1 reason for the recent decline of moose from a highly sought and profitable Game Animal to a Non-Game Species curiosity; and to the silent DNR and U of Minnesota “scientists” that publicly pooh-poohed the role of wolves in the moose decline and thereby gave encouragement to the general public and said newspaper folks and writers to be amused at my writing and to accuse me of not knowing what I was talking about both verbally to others and in e-mails – Please go to the Abstract at the bottom of this e-mail and read the 2nd sentence (my bold/underlining) of the 4 sentence Abstract.
Others are invited to do the same.

This is not about me: it is about the dithering and politically correctness about fear of offending powerful Minnesota and national environmental extremists and animal rights radicals that will truck NO negative comments about wolves. While this disgraceful diversion about ticks and global warming killing moose was taking place and common sense folks like me and many of those forced to live day in and day out with intolerable wolf densities were marginalized; one more magnificent and highly-prized game animal and hunting tradition disappeared.

Now that what has really been undeniable for years can no longer be denied, I say (without a hint of sarcasm or irony) we will now probably be treated to years of “science” and “the need for more research and money” to find ways to:
1. Control wolf predation without killing wolves.
2. Identify offending wolves and live trap them to train them not to hurt moose.
3. Keep seeing hints of ticks and global warming as being the problem with massive needs for more money for more research that can never be resolved or concluded.
4. Admit finally that the DNR has exhausted all the money generated by hunting license sales and there is no longer any Excise Taxes from the sales of Arms and Ammunition since President Hillary and a Democrat Congress and State government banned lead and then guns.

The loss of moose was as simple to understand as why high free-range cat densities in a suburban enclave might be the cause of the increased paucity of songbirds at suburban birdfeeders. The solution to both the loss of songbirds and the loss of moose is to reduce and keep reduced the densities – and perhaps even the presence of said cats and wolves’ if we prize moose hunts and what they mean or if we and our families enjoy seeing birds at our birdfeeders. Any North Country resident could have told us this years ago but what do they know? They have no initials after their name nor do they have any government sponsors or urban Romance Biology experts at an auspicious University to confirm their views.

ABSTRACT:

We re-evaluated findings from Lenarz et al. (2009) that adult moose (Alces alces) survival in northeastern Minnesota was related to high January temperatures and that predation by wolves (Canis lupus) played a minor role. We found significant inverse relationships between annual wolf numbers in part of the moose range and various moose demographics from 2003 to 2013 that suggested a stronger role of wolves than heretofore believed. To re-evaluate the temperature findings, we conducted a simulation study, mimicking the approach taken by Lenarz et al. (2009), to explore the potential for concluding a significant relationship exists between temperature and survival, when no association exists. We found that the high R2s and low probabilities associated with the regression models in Lenarz et al. (2009) should be viewed cautiously in light of the large number of fitted models (m?=?45) and few observations (n?=?6 for each of 5 response variables).

Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Jim Beers
22 October 2014

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Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net

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