Liza Poinier: (603) 271-3211
Kristine Bontaites: (603) 744-5470
David Gordon, DES Environmental Health Program: (603) 271-4608
October 11, 2005

N.H. Moose Hunt Is Oct. 15 - 23, 2005

CONCORD, N.H. -- For nine days from October 15 to 23, 2005, a lucky 525 permit holders and their hunting partners will have the experience of a lifetime taking part in New Hampshire's 18th annual moose hunt. Twenty of these permits will be for taking antlerless-only moose, and the remaining 505 will be for any moose.

Each moose-hunt permittee is assigned to hunt in one of 22 wildlife management units throughout the state; most have spent the past several weeks or months scouting out potential hunting spots. Last year, the statewide success rate was 74% (similar to the previous year's success rate of 75%), with 388 moose (287 bulls and 101 cows) taken during the nine-day season in 2004. Hunters assigned to northern units typically have the greatest success (91% were successful in 2004), because of higher moose densities and excellent access to hunting lands in the North Country.

More than 15,800 people applied for New Hampshire moose hunt permits this year, about two-thirds of them New Hampshire residents. The odds of winning a permit in the lottery were about 1 in 24 for residents and 1 in 62 for out-of-staters. Each moose hunter may be accompanied by one partner.

After taking a moose, hunters must have the animals weighed and inspected at one of seven check stations around the state. There, wildlife biologists check each moose to glean information about the overall health of the moose herd. Many of these check stations draw crowds of onlookers, a reminder of the economic and symbolic importance of moose in New Hampshire, particularly in the North Country.

Hunters are reminded to avoid consuming moose liver and kidney. Studies conducted by Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have revealed high levels of cadmium in some of the moose livers and kidneys sampled. As a result, officials from the Environmental Health Program at the N.H. Department of Environmental Services recommend that no moose kidney be eaten, and, preferably, no liver. If individuals do choose to eat moose liver, it should be from moose younger than 1.5 years. If the moose is older than that, consumption should be limited to a maximum of six meals (assuming six ounces per meal) of moose liver per year. Biologists at the moose check stations can determine the age of the animal for hunters.

As part of a sound management strategy, the moose hunt has been an annual event in New Hampshire since 1988. The moose population, which was only approximately 50 animals in 1950, had grown to over 4,100 by the time of the first moose hunt in 1988, when 75 permits were issued. Today the moose population is estimated at 6,000.

License and permit fees paid by hunters support Fish and Game's moose research and management programs, including an on-going study on moose mortality and habitat. Hunting activity also has a positive impact on the state's economy; according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, nearly 80,000 people hunted in New Hampshire in 2001, generating expenditures in the state of more than $70 million.

Those interested in applying for next year's moose hunt can pick up applications in early spring wherever fishing and hunting licenses are sold, or on this website.

Click here to experience a moose hunt firsthand by downloading the New Hampshire Wildlife Journal article "A New Hampshire Moose Hunt" (September/October 2005), by Alan Briere.

Click here to find more information on moose hunting in New Hampshire, including a photo gallery from the 2004 N.H. moose hunt.

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