CONTACT:
Kristine Rines: 603-744-5470
Kent Gustafson: 603-271-2461
Jane Vachon: 603-271-3211
January 14, 2014

MEDIA: There will be a press briefing at 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, at Fish and Game headquarters in Concord NH (11 Hazen Drive). Moose biologist Kristine Rines will recap what was accomplished during the two-week collaring period and take questions about the moose study and the status of New Hampshire's moose population.

MEDIA: To download video footage (for newscasts) of previous NH helicopter moose collaring operations, click here.

Chopper Overhead Signals Moose Study Underway in Northern N.H.

Moose and calves - USFWS photo

CONCORD, N.H. -- Northern New Hampshire residents may see a helicopter overhead in the coming weeks as the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's latest study of moose mortality and productivity gets underway. Fish and Game has contracted with Aero Tech Inc. to collar moose for the study. Activity will be weather-dependent, but could occur any time between January 20 and February 2, 2014.

During this time, residents of Success, Berlin, Milan, Cambridge, Dummer, Millsfield and Errol may notice a low-flying helicopter. The collaring will take place in Wildlife Management Unit C2 and the eastern side of WMUs B and C1. The Aero Tech wildlife crew will use net-guns and tranquilizer darts to capture the moose and collar them. Residents with questions can call Fish and Game's Wildlife Division at 603-271-2461.

"We hope to find out if natural mortality has increased since a similar study was done about ten years ago," explained Kristine Rines, N.H. Fish and Game's moose biologist.  The earlier New Hampshire moose study took place from 2001-2006. The current study will span three years. Over a two-year period, radio collars will be placed on about 80 moose cows and calves. A graduate student from the University of New Hampshire (UNH), which is partnering with Fish and Game in the study, will track the moose. 

The collared animals will be tracked for four years and monitored for as long as the collars keep transmitting, said Rines. "We'll look at how long the individuals live; and when they die, we'll try to get there as soon as possible to determine cause of death."

This current research effort is a  more directed study focused primarily on mortality, according to Rines. "It's clear that we need to learn more about the causes of moose mortality and how our changing weather patterns may be affecting both the causes and rates of mortality in our moose herd," she said.

Researchers will be looking closely at whether the increase in moose mortality and reduction in reproductive success in New Hampshire is because of winter tick, or if additional disease and parasite problems or other causes of mortality are in evidence.

"If this trend is driven primarily by winter tick, then every year will be different, because weather is such a big player," said Rines. "What we learn will help our moose management team anticipate and respond to changing moose mortality and productivity."

The study, funded by federal Wildlife Restoration dollars with the support of matching funds from UNH, may help answer a question on the mind of many Granite State residents and visitors: What's in store for New Hampshire moose?

"While regional moose populations are indeed facing some serious threats, moose are not on the verge of disappearing from the New Hampshire landscape, but they are declining," said Rines. "The fact of the matter is that we don't know what the future holds, but we’re hopeful that a combination of research and management efforts will allow us to do all we can to secure the future of New Hampshire’s invaluable moose resources."

For more information on New Hampshire's moose population, visit wildnh.com/Newsroom/2013/Q3/moose_future_uncertain_082913.html.

For information on the process of determining the number of moose hunt permits that will be available for the 2014 and 2015 New Hampshire moose hunts, click here.

For more information on moose in New Hampshire, click here.

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NH Fish and Game Dept.
11 Hazen Drive
Concord, NH 03301

603-271-3421
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