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Minnesota moose hunters experience successful year

Minnesota hunters in search of a once-in-a-lifetime bull moose found more success during this fall's season in northeastern Minnesota, according to the Minnesota DNR officials.

Of the 213 hunting parties that received a permit to harvest a bull moose, 109 were successful. This year's success rate of 51 percent was slightly higher than 2009 when 46 percent of the hunting parties harvested a bull moose.

Moose hunting is limited to bulls-only. The northeast population of moose has been declining for several years, which was reflected in this year's decision to issue 12 fewer permits than last year.

The season, which opened Oct. 2 and closed Oct. 17 across Cook, Lake and St. Louis counties, got off to a slow start with unseasonably warm weather conditions during the first 10 days. The warm temperatures suppressed the rut and kept moose movement limited to early and late in the day.

As temperatures cooled, hunters reported good moose rutting activity as bulls pursued cows. The breeding period normally kicks into gear in late September and continues for three to four weeks. Minnesota's peak rutting occurs the first two weeks of October. Many successful hunters utilized calling to bring their moose within range.

The northeast moose population is estimated at 5,500 animals and the allowable harvest is set at approximately 5 percent of the population.