ST. PAUL — Two Minnesota Chippewa tribes were granted a permit Friday by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources allowing them to harvest a total of 10 moose this fall, DNR officials said.
The Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa will be permitted to take five moose each under a DNR permit that allows the taking of animals for educational and cultural purposes, said Jim Leach, director of the DNR’s division of fish and wildlife.
“The permit has been issued,” Leach said Friday afternoon. “The permit is for each band, for ceremonial and educational purposes, to take five moose each within the 1854 ceded territory. They have until the end of the calendar year to take the moose.”
The ceded territory covers much of Northeastern Minnesota.
The bands had approached the DNR earlier this fall seeking permission to harvest moose for subsistence and cultural purposes, said Steve Merchant, DNR wildlife populations manager. The bands and the DNR negotiated the number of moose could be taken, Leach said. He wouldn’t specify how many moose the bands had sought to take.
“Let’s just say it was negotiated down,” Leach said.
Under an agreement between those bands and the state, they may not hold hunting seasons for a species unless the state is holding a hunt for that species, too. The DNR has not authorized a state moose season since 2012 amid concerns about a decreasing moose population. The state is not holding a moose season this fall.
The Bois Forte and Grand Portage bands are paid $1.6 million each by the state annually under the agreement, for which they agree to give up some of their treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather on lands ceded to the U.S. under an 1854 treaty. The bands’ hunting and fishing seasons are conducted under a hunting framework administered by the 1854 Treaty Authority based in Duluth.
Members of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa took 25 bull moose this fall under the band’s hunting season structure. The Fond du Lac Band is not a party to the 1854 Treaty Authority and does not receive payments from the state in return for restricting its hunting and gathering rights. As such, it may hold seasons for a wildlife species whether the state of Minnesota holds a season or not.
Minnesota’s moose population has dropped from an estimated 8,840 in 2006 to about 4,000 currently, according to annual aerial surveys.
A call to the 1854 Treaty Authority was not immediately returned Friday.