CONTACT:
Kristine Rines, (603) 744-5470
Linda Verville, (603) 271-2461
Jane Vachon, (603) 271-3211
October 16, 2006

N.H. Moose Hunt Is October 21 - 29, 2006

CONCORD, N.H. -- For nine days, from October 21 to 29, 2006, a lucky 675 moose permit holders and their hunting partners will have the experience of a lifetime taking part in New Hampshire's 19th annual moose hunt. A total of 85 of these permits will be for taking antlerless-only moose in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in the northern part of the state, and the remaining 590 permits will be for any moose in specific WMUs across the state.

Each hunter with a moose permit 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 fall, hunters took a total of 408 moose -- 272 bulls and 136 cows, for a statewide success rate of 77.6% -- the highest since 1995 (525 permits were issued in 2005). Hunters assigned to northern units typically have the greatest success (90.6% success in 2005), because of higher moose densities and excellent access to hunting lands in the North Country. Each moose hunter may be accompanied by one partner.

A record number of people applied for New Hampshire moose hunt permits this year -- more than 16,300 -- and about two-thirds of them were New Hampshire residents. The odds of winning a permit were about 1 in 18 for residents and 1 in 54 for out-of-staters, some of the best odds in the nation for moose hunting. Those who are not selected can improve their chances by applying in consecutive years to gain bonus points.

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 two 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. Further questions about the issue of cadmium in moose organs may be directed to David Gordon, NHDES Environmental Health Program: (603) 271-4608.

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 7,000.

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 more than $70 million of spending in the state.

If you're interested in applying for next year's moose hunt, visit this website between February and mid-May 2007, or pick up a moose lottery application during that time wherever fishing and hunting licenses are sold.

To visit a photo gallery from the 2005 N.H. moose hunt and find out more about moose hunting in New Hampshire, click here.

To read about one Granite State couple's moose hunt firsthand in the New Hampshire Wildlife Journal article, "A New Hampshire Moose Hunt" (September/October 2005), by Alan Briere, click here and scroll to "On a Moose Hunt."

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NH Fish and Game Dept.
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