Moose are on the decline in Idaho and across the West. That means moose tags for Gem State hunters will be in short supply.
Moose hunting tags are given out based on how many animals biologists think are in the state. Idaho Fish and Game reports those numbers were rising between 1990 and 2004, peaking at 1,235. But, in 2010, the number of tags dropped to 1,027 and has been falling ever since.
That decline is not isolated to Idaho. Moose populations have dropped around the country since the 1990s. That’s when wolves were reintroduced. Fish and Game says the canines could be a contributing factor to dwindling moose populations, but they’re not the whole story. Climate change, food, parasites and predation are all possible factors.
Moose live in remote places and are hard to track – two things that make counting the big animals difficult. Since 2013, biologists from Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Washington and Nevada started working together to study possible factors in their decline. Idaho is looking at nutrition, while other states research additional issues. Fish and Game has been collecting biological samples from moose brought in by hunters to try and better understand the decline.
To help protect the moose that are left, the Department has dropped the number of tags available this season from 805 to 635.
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