Minnesota DNR Releases Results Of 2023 Aerial Moose Population Survey
The moose population is something the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources pays close attention to.
Their 2022 aerial population survey found an estimated 4,700 moose and they estimate that while the 2023 moose count is down, moose count down, the population remains relatively stable.
The DNR reports that this year’s population is an estimated 3,290 moose, marking a decade of Minnesota’s moose population remaining relatively stable. The DNR notes that after a decline from a population estimate of approximately 8,000 in 2009, Minnesota’s moose population appears to have stabilized at about 3,700 animals in recent years.
However, stabilized doesn’t mean the population is constant, according to John Giudice, DNR wildlife biometrician. Instead, annual changes since 2013 appear to be relatively small on average and random, with some years showing a population increase and others a decrease.
While survey results suggest a decrease in the moose population from 2022 to 2023, the DNR says factors such as visibility of moose from the air, challenging weather conditions, and moose avoidance of aircraft create moderately high sampling uncertainty. It's best to look at long-term trends with aerial surveys.
While that may be the case, data collected recently by researchers with the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa suggest the magnitude of this year’s decline could be something more. They have reported high mortality rates on collared moose and similar decreases in aerial surveys around Grand Portage and Isle Royale.
While these estimates suggest continued stability in the population and reproductive success, Minnesota DNR researchers point out that Minnesota moose remain at risk given long-term trends.
The public is invited to view and 2023 survey and get more information on the Minnesota DNR's Moose Management Page.