Increasing Moose Hunting Permits

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Vermont's moose numbers continue to grow, and the number of moose hunting permits will increase again this year in order to achieve regional population goals and provide additional hunting opportunity, according to a proposal presented to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board on January 30 in Montpelier.

Cedric Alexander, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's lead wildlife biologist on moose, prescribed increasing the number of permits from 230 in 2001 to 365 for next October's four-day moose hunt. Alexander observes that several sources of data all indicate Vermont's moose population is on the rise throughout the state. He also notes that moose numbers have continued to increase in Wildlife Management Units E and D2 in the northeast section of the state, where moose hunting has occurred for several years. Vermont's "Moose Management Plan" calls for stabilizing moose numbers in those WMUs.

"Now that we have several years of different types of data to rely on, it is clear that the number of moose in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is well above the population goal for that region, and moose are populating new areas of the state," said Alexander. "We now have data from three years of deer hunter sightings of moose, nine years of moose hunting in Vermont, observations from game wardens, incidental moose mortalities, and public meetings held throughout the state."

"Wildlife biologists throughout the Northeast also share data and information on moose management methods as the moose population continues to expand in this part of North America," added Alexander. "Managing moose populations is a regional effort, and we are benefiting from each others work."

"The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's moose management team proposes significant increases in permit allocations for WMUs E1, E2 and D2 in the Northeast Kingdom, smaller increases for units C, D1 and H1 in north central Vermont, and opening five additional WMUs in the northwest, east central and southern regions of the state," added Alexander.

The proposal calls for permits to be allocated to 15 WMUs, making up about 70 percent of the state. The units and number of permits are as follows: B-5, C-15, D1-25, D2-50 either sex and 20 antlerless, E1-40 either sex and 30 antlerless, E2-55 either sex and 35 antlerless, G-10, H1-15, H2-5, I-10, J1-10, J2-15, L-10, M1-5, and P-10.

The Board voted unanimously to accept the proposal, which begins a three-month regulation adoption process. It must vote two more times before the regulation can be adopted.

Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Ronald Regan says permit applications costing $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents would be available in mid-June from the Fish & Wildlife Department and license agents throughout the state. Permits are randomly drawn in a lottery held in August.

"Vermont's moose hunt is held in accordance with the Vermont Moose Management Plan, which is based on scientific data gathered since 1980 and public input," said Regan. "The plan serves as a working contract enabling the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to protect, conserve and manage moose for the people of Vermont."

Licensed hunters took 155 moose in Vermont in 2001 at a success rate of 68 percent. Alexander expects about 225-250 moose would be taken by hunters during the hunt next October.