A total of 355 permits will be issued for Vermont’s 21st annual October moose season under a proposal the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board gave preliminary approval to Feb. 20.
The 355 permits proposed by the department represent a slight decrease from the 385 permits issued last year. Under the proposal, hunters are expected to harvest close to 200 animals during the Oct. 19-24 season.
“We recommended a slight reduction in permits this year based on the biological data we have collected on Vermont’s moose and our calculated population estimates indicating moose densities are below management goals in some northern areas,” said biologist Cedric Alexander, Vermont’s moose project leader. “It’s the intent of this proposal to allow slow population growth in some regions while continuing to stabilize moose numbers elsewhere.”
Alexander estimates Vermont has 2,500 to 3,000 moose statewide with the greatest concentration in the Northeast Kingdom.
“We also want to take a conservative approach given recent regional and national trends of moose populations and health,” added Alexander. “Moose biologists from the southern tier of moose range across the country are increasingly concerned about the effects of warming temperature on moose health. Weather patterns have created more days where the thermoregulatory threshold for moose is exceeded causing them to feed less, and the warmer climate leads to higher winter tick loads.”
Vermont also holds a special “archery-only” moose season. Fifty permits will be awarded for the Oct. 1-7 archery moose season.
Moose hunting permit lottery applications, $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents, will be available on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) in early May. Printed applications are scheduled to be available at license agents in early June.
Two lotteries will be held, one for the regular hunting season and one for the archery season. Winners of either lottery must purchase resident hunting permits for $100 or nonresident hunting permits for $350. Hunters also will have the option to bid on five moose hunting permits in an auction to be announced later.
As part of the Fish and Wildlife Board’s rule process, the moose permit proposal must be voted on at two more upcoming board meetings.