The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has announced that there will be a significant reduction in moose permits. The reduction will be put in place to protect the remaining moose population while biologists study the situation. Currently, biologists are conducting studies on the cow moose population. The study consisted of radio-collaring numerous cow moose to study mortality rates. However, the study proved, to the surprise of the biologists, that adult mortality rates within the cow moose were much better than they believed. 90% of the collared moose survived this last year. Although this is great news it means the biologists are going to need to study the moose population more and see why the population continues to fall.
Concern’s about Calf Recruitment
Another major concern for biologists is poor calf recruitment. 85% of the collared cow moose were pregnant at the time of being collared. However, just after birthing season, only 70% of the cows had calves with them or signs of nursing. After being observed again in September only 68% of the cows that had calves in the spring still had them. So, all in all, roughly 35% of moose calves do not survive the first year they are born. Likewise, it also seems that a substantial portion of moose pregnancies are not being carried to full term.
This data is concerning to the biologists, they stated that more in-depth moose calf studies are going to be planned going forward. Another issue discovered during the study was death due to disease. Of the nine moose that died during the study 6 were attributed to parasites and/or disease. Likewise, after searching the study area, biologists also found some uncollared dead moose that showed signs of disease. Moose suffer from both wood tick infestations and brain worm parasites. Only two of the dead moose were confirmed to have died from a predator attack. One was a wolf kill, the other was most likely a mountain lion kill.
Because of the continued population loss of moose, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be reducing both bulls and cow permits. Bull moose permits will be reduced from 560 to 542 tags, a total reduction of 18 permits. Cow moose permits will see a bigger reduction. The antlerless permits will be reduced from 74 to 3 total permits. The loss of 71 permits may hurt hunters in the short term. However, IDFG hopes that this reduction will help the moose population rebound.
What are your thoughts on Idaho reducing moose permits? Have you ever moose hunted before? Let us know in the comments!