Moose harvest trends over the past thirty years, both within the exterior boundaries of the Flathead Indian Reservation and elsewhere in western Montana, indicate an overall declining moose population in western Montana. Factors include mortalities due to hunter harvest, declining suitable habitat, parasites and disease, predation, and changes in climate.

For these reasons, the Tribal Wildlife Management Program recommended an emergency closure of harvest of antlerless moose (cow and calf moose), both within the Flathead Indian Reservation and off-reservation aboriginal territory within western Montana. This action was supported and approved by Tribal Council, and this regulation change will go into effect on May 30, 2020.

Over the past ten years, permits issued to CSKT Tribal member hunters has declined substantially, and hunter success has declined steadily from 23 percent in 1986 to only two percent in 2019. At the same time, female and calf moose harvest has also decreased, but female and calf moose continue to be harvested. In a limited population, removal of reproductive females, as well as immature females can have long-term adverse impacts upon populations, both now and in the future. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have also closed taking of antlerless moose throughout most western Montana due to the same concerns, with a few exceptions in southwestern Montana.

For additional information on the emergency closure of antlerless (cow/calf) moose for CSKT Tribal member moose hunters both within the Flathead Indian Reservation and aboriginal territory in western Montana, contact Dale Becker at the Tribal Wildlife Management Program at (406) 883-2888, ext. 7278 or dale.becker@cskt.org.

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