Policy: Select Species Hunting Raffle
Minnesotans rightly take great pride in our state’s natural beauty and hunters are a big contributor to our wild areas staying pristine. From the reduction in the white tailed deer herd to the money generated from the sale of hunting licenses, it is all an indispensable help to the health and stability of our environment.
When we think of hunting season, we normally think of deer, waterfowl, and upland game birds. Other species are purposefully excluded from hunting because their populations aren’t healthy enough to allow for an annual harvest. If we put strict limits on that harvest though, and dedicate the generated funds to conservation efforts, we can ensure a win-win situation.
There used to be a moose hunting season from 1971 to 2013, but it was eliminated because of falling population numbers. The 2020 Minnesota Moose population survey estimated that between 2,400-4,320 individuals live in the state. This marks a 9th consecutive year of stability for the population. This is the perfect candidate for today’s policy - a species where a larger hunting season is still out of the question, but there is still a demand to hunt the animal. I’m using moose as the example here, but this model could easily be applied to other species in the state that are in a similar situation.
What I’m proposing is that the state sells 2-10 permits for a species with a small but stable population. Half of the permits would be auctioned off to the highest bidder, but I don’t want this opportunity to be restricted to only people with high incomes. The other half would be given out via a raffle with a single ticket purchasable when someone buys their annual hunting permit. In addition to providing a chance for rural hunters to join the hunt, the raffle tickets would also make festive holiday and birthday presents.
The money generated from the auction and raffle ticket sales would be dedicated to conservation of that species, as well as other operations critical to keeping our wilderness pristine for future generations, and the overall number of animals harvested would be small enough so as not to impact the population. In the presented case of moose, this balance is particularly apparent as taking an adult bull has little-to-no population impact and is exactly what the trophy hunters are most interested in.
There has long been a partnership between hunters and conservationists as both groups’ goals have a large amount of overlap. The system I’ve described above furthers those goals and will allow Minnesotans to continue to take pride in our wilderness for generations to come.