DNR seeks information on moose poachingThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is looking for information about the killing of a healthy adult cow moose that was shot and left Saturday night in the High Landing area of Pennington County. According to Jeremy Woinarowicz, conservation officer for the DNR in Thief River Falls, the moose was shot in a harvested soybean field about 100 yards off a roadway in the southwest quarter of Section 15 in High Landing Township.
By: By Brad Dokken, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is looking for information about the killing of a healthy adult cow moose that was shot and left Saturday night in the High Landing area of Pennington County.
According to Jeremy Woinarowicz, conservation officer for the DNR in Thief River Falls, the moose was shot in a harvested soybean field about 100 yards off a roadway in the southwest quarter of Section 15 in High Landing Township.
Woinarowicz said area residents reported seeing the moose alive as late as 5 p.m. Saturday, but it was spotted dead at first light Sunday. He estimates the moose weighed about 800 pounds and appeared to have been shot one time through the chest with a high-powered rifle.
“It was a nice, big, fully grown female,” Woinarowicz said. “It wasn’t a mercy killing by a car strike where someone had sped up the process by putting it down.”
The officer said residents had been watching the moose and were angry it had been poached, especially when the northwestern Minnesota moose population has plummeted in recent years. The region had more 4,000 moose in the 1980s, the DNR said, and recent surveys have estimated the population in northwestern Minnesota at less than 100 animals.
Woinarowicz retrieved the moose Monday morning with help from a nearby farmer who supplied a tractor and loader. He said the DNR’s Fish and Wildlife Division will take tissue samples and test the moose for diseases and parasites as part of ongoing efforts to monitor the animals in northwestern Minnesota and try to learn more about what’s causing the population decline.
It’s possible, Woinarowicz said, that whoever shot the moose left it after realizing it was too big to handle without a winch or some other equipment.
“This isn’t something like a deer you throw in the box of a pickup,” he said. “It’s not like it was a calf or mistaken in the woods; it was a large, full-grown female moose out in a wide open field with nothing else around it. Mistaken identity was very unlikely.”
It’s not the first incident of an animal being shot this fall and left, Woinarowicz said. He’s also investigating reports of deer being shot along the Minnesota side of the Red River, and he knows of similar instances of deer shot and left north of Thief Lake Wildlife Management Area.
“I don’t know if the folks are getting bored and shooting for the thrill of the kill,” Woinarowicz said. It’s not just bucks being taken; does are getting shot, too, he said — and in this case, a cow moose.
“It’s not like they’re doing it just for the antlers,” Woinarowicz said.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Turn In Poachers hotline at (800) 652-9093 or #TIP on most cell phones. Callers can remain anonymous, and cash rewards are available for information that leads to a conviction. Tips also can be made online at mndnr.gov.
Brad Dokken is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald which is owned by Forum Communications Co.