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Moose Hunt Outlook

By Kristine Rines, N.H. Fish and Game Moose Project Leader

Posted August 3, 2017

 

mooseThe 2017 moose season will take place statewide October 21-29, 2017, with 51 permits being issued. All permits will be for either-sex moose. Permit levels are set to obtain the goals (expressed in terms of regional moose density) set by the public during our Big Game planning process in 2016.

 

The Connecticut Lakes Region is comprised of wildlife management units A1 and A2. Ten either-sex permits were issued here, the same as were issued last year. This low level of permits should hold the population at goal and help maintain the current adult sex ratio. This region typically sees success rates between 75% and 85%. In 2016, the success rate was 91%. Last year, 70% of the take of all permits combined was adult bulls (aged 2.5 and older), and 90% of the total take were bulls 1.5 years of age and older. Successful moose hunters saw 0.30 moose per hour in 2016.

 

The North Region (WMUs B, C2, and D1) was issued 15 either-sex permits, which is down from 25 in 2016. This reduction is designed to allow this population to grow toward goal. Last year 86% of all moose taken were adult bulls, and 90% were bulls 1.5 years of age and older. Successful moose hunters saw 0.34 moose per hour in 2016. Last year, this region saw a success rate of 78% for all permits combined. This region typically sees success rates of 75-90%.

 

The White Mountain Region (WMUs C1, D2, E1, E2, E3, and F) offers hunters the opportunity for a true wilderness hunt. The bulk of this region lies within the White Mountain National Forest. Access is primarily limited to foot traffic. Hunters must be prepared to get their moose out without the use of motorized vehicles. Total permit issuance was also reduced here from 20 either sex permits in 2016 to 15 either-sex permits issued in 2017. Last year the success rate was 68%. Eighty-four percent of the kill was adult bulls, and no yearling bulls were taken. Moose seen per hour by successful moose hunters was 0.30 in 2016, which is high for this region. The success rate for this region is usually within the range of 45-80%.

 

The Central Region (WMUs G, H1, I1, I2, J1, and J2) is more heavily settled than those regions to the north. Moose densities and access continue to be good here, although moose densities have declined in the past six years. Land ownership here and in the two remaining southern regions is primarily by individual landowners. Total permits have been reduced here from 110 in 2010-11 to 80 in 2012-13, 25 in 2014, and 10 either-sex permits in 2015. Six either-sex permits were issued in 2016 and will be issued here again in 2017. Last year, successful moose hunters saw 0.33 moose per hunting hour, which is the highest number recorded for the region. The success rate was 50%. Only bulls were taken here, with hunters taking 67% adult bulls and one bull aged 1.5 years. Success rates for the past five years have fallen in the range of 45-90%.

 

Successful hunters in the Southwest Region (WMUs H2N, H2S, and K) saw 0.03 moose per hour in 2016, which was the lowest number ever recorded for this region. The 60% success rate last year was high in this region, which usually has a success rate in the 40-60% range. Land ownership and development patterns are similar to those in the Central Region, but moose densities are slightly lower than those in the Central Region. In 2016, 33% of the kill was composed of adult bulls, and no yearling bulls were taken. The moose density in this region has declined to the cut-off point for permit issuance established in the moose management plan and as a result permits were not issued here in 2017.

 

The Southeast Region (WMUs L and M) has very high human population densities and the lowest moose density. Access is limited, and hunters will need to do considerable scouting and contacting of property owners to have a successful hunt. Twenty either-sex permits were issued here from 2010 through 2013 with five either-sex permits issued in 2014 through 2016 and again in 2017. Successful moose hunters saw 0.03 moose per hunter hour last year. The success rate last year was 50%, which is high for this region. All of the kill was composed of adult bulls and all of those were older than 1.5 years.

 

The following chart indicates recommended moose population density goals and current density levels by region expressed as moose/mi2:

 

Moose Population Density
REGION  RECOMMENDED GOAL CURRENT LEVEL
Ct. Lakes 2.24 1.71
North 1.28 1.14
White Mtns. 0.47 0.39
Central 0.25 0.21
Southwest 0.23 0.2
Southeast 0.1 0.11