Minnesota’s moose population is in a decline, and some are asking if the state’s moose hunting season should be halted because of it.

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While no one seems to know for sure why the moose population in Minnesota is declining, the state DNR says hunting isn’t the problem and plans another limited hunt in the fall. The Duluth News Tribunesays 45 bulls were taken last fall by licensed hunters. A “tribal harvest” brings the number closer to 100. The state’s moose population is estimated at 4,230 animals. John Pastor, a moose researcher and biology professor at UMD, said it’s time to stop the hunt, even though it’s popular among hunters. “I think the safest thing would be to not hunt them,” Pastor said. “I don’t see any reason to hunt them. … I think it would be a good thing not to hunt them for a year or two.”

Minnesota’s moose population has dropped from almost 9,000 animals in 2006 to about 4,000 now. If hunting isn’t the reason for the decline, should it continue?