CONCORD, N.H. — New Hampshire’s nine-day moose hunting season is about to start.
A total of 71 permit holders were drawn in this year’s lottery from a pool of more than 8,000 applicants for the hunt Oct. 15 to 23. Two other hunters were the highest bidders in an annual auction that benefits the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire. One permit was given to a youth with a serious medical condition through the Hunt of a Lifetime program.
Last fall, hunters had a statewide success rate of 69 percent.
Each hunter is assigned to hunt in one of 22 wildlife management units throughout the state. After taking a moose, hunters must have the animals registered and inspected at one of six check stations around the state. Wildlife biologists check each moose to collect valuable information about the overall health and productivity of the moose herd.
The state’s first modern-day moose hunt took place in 1988, with 75 permits issued in the North Country. At that time, New Hampshire was home to about 1,600 moose. Today, the state has about 4,000 moose, but that’s about half the population from a decade ago. The decline is due partly to an increase in winter ticks, mostly in the northern part of the state. Brainworm, which is carried by deer, also is affecting some moose in southern New Hampshire.
The department says moose are not currently a threatened or endangered species in the state.