Biologist: Moose on decline, but not on verge of disappearing
New Hampshire Fish and Game's Kristine Rines isn't about to give up on moose, even though they're tormented by ticks, trucks, brain worm and the weather. (COURTESY)
The health of the state's moose has been a steady topic of conversation for several years. The discussion always gathers steam as the annual October moose hunt, begun in 1988, approaches.In a presentation with Rines, Fish and Game administrators last week distributed a lengthy statement that sought to cover the spectrum of issues related to moose.
That was a factor in helping state officials determine how may tickets to make available for the moose-hunt lottery.
From 1996 to 2002, the number of moose killed by vehicles in the state each year ranged from 225 to 265. It's now about 170, she said."We've gone from 675 permits to 275 permits issued in 2012-13. While we won't know until this fall how the population is faring as a result of this most recent permit reduction, current information suggests that New Hampshire's moose population may continue to decline in some regions," Rines said. "We will continue to monitor our moose population closely; if it keeps declining, we will reduce permits accordingly in an effort to maintain moose on our landscape."
"In New Hampshire, our winters are growing shorter, snow arrives later and melts earlier," said Rines, who in the past year pointed to a sharp increase in ticks found on moose, from a five-figure number per animal to more than 150,000 in some cases.
Minnesota has ended its moose hunt due to declining herd populations, and Rines said Maine, as well as other states, Nova Scotia, Canadian provinces on the southern edge of moose range have all seen drops in moose counts, similar to those in the Granite State.
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