Annual Spring Moose Photograph Survey
Welcome to the N.H. Fish and Game Department's first annual, statewide spring moose photograph survey. The purpose of this survey is to increase the department’s knowledge of how and where winter ticks are impacting our moose.
Please only send photos of moose:
- taken in New Hampshire between the dates of May 1 through May 15, 2017;
- broadside views only; and
- no more than one photograph of an individual animal.
While watching or photographing moose, NEVER approach them or allow them to approach you. Always keep a good distance from them and always have a good stout tree or your vehicle nearby. Moose are large, potentially dangerous animals that can run as fast as a galloping horse. They do not always show their displeasure or give any warning before attacking. If they do feel threatened or angry, moose may raise the hackles on their neck, lay their ears back, jerk their nose at you, roll the whites of their eyes -- or just run at you, knock you down and then stomp you until you stop moving. Please photograph moose from a safe distance.
What to Look For
N.H. Fish and Game field staff document moose hair patterns, but are reaching out to the public to significantly increase sample sizes and coverage around the state. In order to get the most accurate reading of how regional moose populations are being impacted, we would like to have as many broadside photos of individual moose as possible taken from May 1 through May 15 each year from each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU). During the survey you will be asked to provide information on the date of your observation as well as the town, specific location and WMU. A map of WMUs is provided in the survey for reference.
You will also be asked to provide an estimate of the degree of hair loss. The illustrations and photographs below are examples of various patterns and degrees of hair loss and are also provided as reference in the survey. Remember, observations and photographs of moose with no hair loss are just as important as any other category.
Finally you will be asked to upload a broadside photograph of the observed moose. Note that allowable photograph file formats include PNG, JPG, JPEG and GIF, with a maximum file size of 16MB.
Reportable Hair Patterns
The illustrations below show reportable hair patterns.
Stippled areas indicate some hair loss, looks "patchy." Darker areas are hairless of practically hairless, often scabby with much broken hair.
The photos below are examples of the appearance of moose in each category.
This photo shows a moose with no hair loss.
This selection of photos shows several degrees of hair loss. The top left photo indicates light hair loss. Top right photo shows moderate hair loss. Bottom left photo shows severe hair loss. Bottom right photo illustrates worst care hair loss.
Why Are Moose Losing Hair?
Winter ticks are causing declines in both moose health and density in the northern regions of the state. The ticks get on moose in the fall and feed on them through the winter. During this time period, the moose try to groom the ticks off. This grooming results in hair loss for the moose. The amount of hair lost, especially on adult animals, corresponds to the tick load the moose was carrying. Furthermore, the proportion of the moose population that have no hair loss versus some degree of hair loss helps us determine overall infection rates and assess what that means for moose mortality and general health. Tick loads on moose are influenced by moose density, weather and habitat. To find out more about moose and ticks go to www.wildnh.com/wildlife/moose-study.html.
While ticks tend to be more problematic in areas with the higher moose densities found up north, it is important that we monitor for their presence and impacts statewide. As moose density, weather or habitat conditions change, the Department needs to know how the tick impacts change in response. An effective way to do this is to monitor the percentage of moose with and without spring hair loss resulting from tick grooming.
Thanks so much for helping monitor our moose for ticks. Once the photos have been evaluated and the regional tick loads estimated, a report will be posted on this web page.