The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is proposing a fall moose hunt in the northeastern part of the state to reduce the effects of winter ticks on the animal’s population. This past week the proposal to issue 100 hunting permits in Vermont’s Wildlife Management Unit E was accepted by the state Fish and Wildlife Board. “Moose density in WMU E is still more than one moose per square mile, significantly higher than any other part of the state,” Nick Fortin, Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s moose project leader, said in a written statement. “Moose densities greater than one per square mile support high numbers of winter ticks which negatively impact moose health and survival.” A study in that part of the state showed that chronic high winter tick loads have caused moose health to deteriorate, the department said. Adult moose survival remained relatively good, but birth rates were very low and less than half of the calves survived their first winter, the department said. “Research has shown that lower moose densities in the rest of Vermont support relatively few winter ticks that do not impact moose populations,” Fortin said. “Reducing moose density decreases the number of available hosts which in turn decreases the number of winter ticks on the landscape.” The moose season recommendations are available on the department’s website. The public can comment on the plan by March 31.
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