Michigan State Rep. Steve Johnson (R-72) recently introduced a resolution calling on the National Park Service to establish a moose tag lottery hunt on Isle Royale National Park in an effort to help control the island’s exploding moose population.
According to a press release from Johnson’s office, Isle Royale, a remote island in Lake Superior, has seen its moose population jump from 515 in 2011 to more than 2,000 today. A study from the Michigan Technological University estimated that the average growth rate of the island’s moose population is 19 percent per year.
Additionally, Johnson claims that past attempts to introduce wolves to the island to balance out the moose population have not been effective.
“Previous attempts to introduce additional wolves to balance out the moose-to-wolf ratio have not resulted in a long-term sustainable balance of predator and prey,” states House Resolution 154.
The ballooning moose population has caused an “ongoing ecological dilemma” on the island, according Johnson, since the moose feed on the park’s balsam fir trees and other vegetation. This “could devastate these slow-growing trees and could eliminate them from Isle Royale,” the resolution suggests.
Johnson believes that a moose tag lottery hunt would provide a number of benefits to Michiganders throughout the western Upper Peninsula.
“This hunt will provide a unique hunting experience for a number of hunters each year, which in turn will bring increased economic activity to the western Upper Peninsula,” the resolution says.
Johnson said in a statement that roughly 40 national parks “currently allow some form of hunting as part of their wildlife management practices.”
“Hunting season is right around the corner, and not only would a targeted moose hunt make for an exciting opportunity for Michigan hunters, but it would also be another tool to help control the exploding moose population on Isle Royale,” he said. “It’s not often we have the opportunity to give hunters a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, help protect Michigan’s most pristine national park, and spur economic growth in the U.P. This is a true win-win-win.”
– – –