A total of 285 regular firearms moose season permits and 50 archery moose season permits will be issued for Vermont’s 22nd annual October moose hunt under a proposed regulation approved by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board at their February 26 monthly meeting in Montpelier.

The board voted on a proposal presented by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department that allocates permits in 16 of the state’s 21 Wildlife Management Units.  The proposed regulation must be voted on at one more Board meeting in early April.

The 285 regular season permits proposed by the department represent a 20 percent decrease from the 355 permits issued last year.  Under the proposal, hunters are expected to harvest close to 150 moose during the regular season hunt.

“We recommended a 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 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 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 North America are increasingly concerned about the effects of warming temperatures on moose health.  Moose can easily become stressed by both warmer weather causing them to feed less and early spring snow melt that results in higher winter tick loads the following year.”

Fifty permits are proposed for Vermont’s special “archery-only” moose season to be held October 1-7.  For the first time, archery permits are not authorized on a statewide basis, but by Wildlife Management Units to better manage the harvest.  Hunters are expected to take close to 15 moose during this season.

Moose hunting permit lottery applications, $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents, will be available on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website in mid-April.  Printed applications will be at license agents in early June.  Applicants are encouraged to review their Wildlife Management Unit selections closely as the boundaries of several of the units have changed.

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.

You can review the proposed 2014 moose hunt and comment on it by going to the Fish & Wildlife website and clicking on Law Enforcement and then Rules and Proposed Rules.

Logo courtesy Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department

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