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Dean Beyer

Wildlife Research Biologist


HQ Phone:  (651) 259-5400

Email: d***@***.gov


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500 Layfayette Road

Saint Paul, Minnesota,55155

United States

Company Description

In keeping with our mission, the DNR is dedicated to working with the citizens and businesses of Wisconsin while preserving and enhancing the natural resources of Wisconsin. In partnership with individuals and organizations, DNR staff manage fish, wildlife, fo...more

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Background Information

Employment History

Wildlife Biologist

Northern Michigan University

Web References(75 Total References)

Michigan Moose Population Up By Nearly 100 [cached]

"Our survey findings this year are encouraging because a possible population decline detected in 2015 was transitory," says Dean Beyer, a DNR wildlife research biologist.
Beyer organizes the sampling and generates the estimate for the biennial survey effort. "This will not allow us to estimate moose abundance throughout the entirety of the western U.P. moose range," Beyer says.

Dean Beyer, a wildlife research biologist for the DNR, who is serving as the co-principal investigator for the Michigan Predator-Prey Project, said it will consist of three three-year-long phases of field work.
Field work for the first phase, in which fawn mortality rates in low-snowfall zones of the U.P. were investigated, began in 2009. The second phase's field work, focusing on fawn mortality rates in mid-snowfall zones in Iron County, is ongoing. "When we complete that, we'll move up to the high-snowfall zone (in January 2017)," Beyer said. Once the third phase's field work is done, Beyer said he expects the project to run for a few more years to analyze the collected data. Even though the project is still years away from completion, research done in the low-snowfall zone has already provided valuable information about fawn survival rates. "In the low-snowfall zone...we had annual fawn survival range from 35 percent to 59 percent," Beyer said. "Coyotes were an important predator of fawns in phase one," Beyer added. According to their website, the Predator-Prey Project uses netted "clover" traps to capture adult does during the winter months. If they are pregnant, researchers outfit them with a radio-tracking collar and an implanted transmitter which will report where they give birth to their fawns. "It ... increases our chances to find and capture a young fawn," noted Beyer. The presence of livestock dump sites near the zone being studied in phase one may have been a confounding factor, as Beyer said it could have reduced the odds of wolves attempting to eat fawns in the area. "They had this readily-available food source," Beyer said. Still, he noted the Michigan Predator-Prey Project's extreme level of depth and peninsula-wide scope ensures it will be highly useful. "It's a very comprehensive study - there's not many studies out there that investigate all of these factors simultaneously," Beyer said.

According to DNR Wildlife Research Biologist Dean Beyer the moose population grew slowly to about 215 animals by the turn of the century.
Dr. Dean Beyer of the Michigan DNR monitors the Michigan moose population. He said "from 1997 to 2007 the U.P. moose population was growing by 10 percent a year." He went on to say that "from 2009 to 2013 the moose population only grew by two percent per year." Beyer said the current moose population aerial survey indicates there were about 451 moose in the western U.P. during January 2013. Beyer explained the DNR's survey efforts have been primarily focused on the western U.P. moose population that was re-introduced in the "Moose Lift" program. Dr. Beyer explained that the moose herd in the eastern U.P., "likely number fewer than 100." The source of the eastern U.P. moose is not known for certain. It is possible that a few scattered moose remained from native moose although it is also likely some immigrated from eastern Ontario or the western U.P. Beyer listed the following factors currently causing mortality in Michigan moose: disease kills 30 percent; trauma (stuck in mud/fall through ice, etc.), 24 percent; 14 percent die from liver flukes; and four percent die from collisions with vehicles. Current Michigan moose monitoring cannot give an exact figure, although during intensive radio collar monitoring between 1999 to 2005 about five percent of moose emigrated out of the study area. Brain worm that caused 35 to 40 percent of U.P. moose mortality early after the re-introduction, has recently fallen to only "two percent of the overall moose mortality." Beyer felt that winter ticks that have been very detrimental to moose in some other areas were not as significant a factor in the west U.P. The researcher did not consider wolf predation to be a significant mortality factor to the west U.P. moose population. "The moose calf survival rate is higher in the U.P. than many other monitored moose populations, especially those systems with wolves and brown bears," he said. "Wolves would more likely target deer than moose in the western U.P. and many of the deer in the core U.P. moose range move to deer yards outside this range in the winter. Wolves would be more likely to follow the deer away from the moose in the winter," Beyer said. Some moose experts have speculated that this hard winter would actually help the moose population. Beyer felt that was a reasonable assumption since "moose have evolved to prosper in deep snow and very cold winters. "Since the Michigan moose population is currently only growing at two percent per year, the Michigan Natural Resources Commission is not currently considering a moose season," Beyer said.

The overall study is led by Dr. Jerrold Belant of Mississippi State University and Dr. Dean Beyer of the Michigan DNR Wildlife Division.

Not all moose in the southern portion of their range are doing poorly, said Dean Beyer, a wildlife biologist with the Michigan DNR and Northern Michigan University.
They appear healthy in the southern areas of the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario. "That's going to make it difficult for scientists to diagnose what's going on," Beyer said.

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