With high moose numbers in northeastern Vermont contributing to the abundance and negative impact of winter ticks, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department reports 78 moose were harvested in October.
“Moose are relatively abundant in Vermont’s northeastern Wildlife Management Unit,” says Nick Fortin, the department’s moose biologist. “This high density of moose contributes to high winter tick numbers that can negatively impact moose health and survival. A goal of this year’s hunt was to improve the overall health of moose population by reducing its density.”
The department issued 180 moose hunting permits this year, resulting in 78 moose harvested between the October 1-7 archery season and the October 21-26 regular season.
Of the 180 permits available, 174 were issued by lottery, to which over 5,500 hunters applied. The department reserves the first five lottery permits for Vermont military veterans. Three non-lottery permits are reserved for persons with life-threatening illnesses, and three more are auctioned as a fundraiser for conservation.
Moose management goals were informed by years of monitoring data and extensive research on moose and winter ticks from the northeastern U.S. and Canada.
Vermont research has shown that chronic high winter tick loads have caused the health of moose in northeastern Vermont to be very poor. Survival of adult moose remains relatively good, but birth rates are very low, and many calves do not survive their first winter.