Fish and Game - Moose hunt

New Hampshire’s nine-day moose hunt starts the third Saturday in October. This year’s hunt runs from Oct. 17-25. (COURTESY PHOTO)

CONCORD — For nine days, Oct. 17-25, a group of lucky moose permit holders and their hunting partners will have the experience of a lifetime taking part in New Hampshire’s annual moose hunt.

A total of 49 permit holders were drawn in this year’s 33rd annual lottery, randomly selected by computer from a pool of more than 6,013 applicants. Also, one charitable permit each was issued to the New Hampshire Wildlife Heritage Foundation and the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation Dream Hunt program.

Carroll County residents selected in the lottery include Robert Frasier of Moultonborough; Janine Provost of Wolfeboro; Michelle Steinburg of Wolfeboro; and Robert Takacs of Bartlett.

In 2019, New Hampshire hunters had a statewide success rate of 76 percent when 38 moose were harvested.

Each hunter with a moose permit will be assigned to hunt in one of 22 Wildlife Management Units throughout the state. Most of these hunters have spent considerable time already scouting potential hunting spots in their assigned areas. After taking a moose, hunters must have the animals registered and inspected at one of six check stations around the state where wildlife biologists inspect each moose to collect data about the overall health and productivity of the moose herd. Find a list of moose check stations at huntnh.com/hunting/moose.html.

The moose hunt has been an annual event in New Hampshire for more than 30 years. The state’s first modern-day moose hunt took place in 1988, with 75 permits issued in the North Country. At that time, New Hampshire was home to about 1,600 moose. Today, New Hampshire has about 3,300 moose.

Hunters are reminded to avoid consuming moose liver and kidney. Studies conducted by the state Fish and Game Department and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have shown high levels of cadmium in some moose livers and kidneys sampled. As a result, officials from the Environmental Health Program at the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services recommend that no moose kidney be consumed, and refraining from liver consumption is recommended. If individuals choose to eat moose liver, it should be from an animal 1.5 years of age or younger. If the moose is older than that, consumption should be limited to a maximum of two 6-ounce portions of moose liver per year. Biologists at moose check stations can determine the age of the animal for hunters. If you have questions about this issue, call David Gordon, at the DES Environmental Health Program, (603) 271-4608.

A total of 5,875 people entered the lottery in 2019, for the chance to win one of 49 permits. More than 1,100 people continued to accrue bonus points because they submitted an application for an additional point only so as not to lose their accrued points. Hunters from five other states won permits in the lottery.

While people travel from all over the country to take part in the New Hampshire moose hunt, the majority of permits, about 85 percent, are awarded to New Hampshire residents. The number of permits available to nonresidents is capped, based on the prior year’s sales of nonresident hunting licenses.

The moose hunt has been an annual event in New Hampshire for more than 20 years. The state's first modern-day moose hunt took place in 1988, with 75 permits issued in the North Country for what was then just a three-day. At that time, New Hampshire was home to about 1,600 moose. In 1992, the number of permits rose to 190 and the following year to 317 permits. By 1994, the number had increased to 405 and topped out at a record 495 in 1995.

The herd stood at 5,000 in 1994. In 2017, according to the National Wildlife Foundation, "The New Hampshire moose population has plummeted by more than 40 percent in the last decade from over 7,500 moose to just 4,000 today.”

According to foundation biologists, some of the decline is due to "increasing parasite loads influenced by shorter winters caused by climate change."

The state’s current moose population, according to Fish and Game biologists, is estimated at about 3,000 animals.

The availability of moose hunting permits is made possible by careful monitoring of moose populations. The resulting annual harvest of moose provides valuable information on their physical condition and productivity and provides a unique recreational opportunity. Learn more about moose hunting in New Hampshire at tinyurl.com/y9q7mntc.

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