The Fish and Wildlife Board voted on April 6 to have 60 either-sex moose hunting permits and 40 antlerless moose hunting permits available this year for a hunt limited to Vermont’s Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) E in the northeastern corner of the state. The science-based hunt will result in an estimated harvest of 51 to 65 moose, or 5 percent of the more than 1,000 moose currently estimated to live in WMU E. “Moose density in WMU E remains well above one moose per square mile, significantly higher than any other part of the state,” said Nick Fortin, Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s biologist in charge of the moose project. “Moose densities greater than one-per-square mile support high numbers of winter ticks, which negatively impact moose health and survival.” The Fish and Wildlife Department recently partnered with UVM to conduct a study of moose health and survival in WMU E. The results of this study, in which 126 moose (36 cows, 90 calves) were fitted with GPS tracking collars, clearly showed that chronic high winter tick loads have caused the health of moose in that part of the state to be very poor, Fortin said. Survival of adult moose remained relatively good, but birth rates were very low and less than half of the calves survived their first winter. The goal of the Fish and Wildlife Department’s 2022 moose season recommendation is to improve the health of moose in WMU-E by reducing the impact of winter ticks. Permit applications are now available at vtfishandwildlife.com.
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