Lucky New Hampshire Moose Hunters Head Out Oct. 17th
For nine exciting days, from October 17 to 25, 2009, lucky moose permit holders and their hunting partners will have the experience of a lifetime taking part in New Hampshire's annual moose hunt. There were 515 permit holders drawn in this year's lottery, randomly selected by computer from a pool of more than 14,500 applicants.
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. Each moose hunter may be accompanied by one partner. Last fall, New Hampshire hunters took 333 moose, for a statewide success rate of 65%. Regional success rates for moose hunters last year ranged from 83% in the North Region to 38% in southeastern New Hampshire. Hunters assigned to northern units typically have the greatest success, because of higher moose densities and excellent access to hunting lands in the North Country.
After taking a moose, hunters must have the animals registered and inspected at one of seven check stations around the state. There, wildlife biologists check each moose to gain information about the overall health of the moose herd. These check stations draw many interested onlookers, a reminder of the economic and symbolic importance of moose in New Hampshire, particularly in the North Country. Find a list of locations at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_moose.htm.
As part of a sound management strategy, the moose hunt has been an annual event in New Hampshire since 1988. The moose population was only about 50 animals in 1950; it had grown to over 4,100 by the time of the first moose hunt in 1988, when 75 permits were issued.
Hunters are reminded to avoid consuming moose liver and kidney. Studies conducted by Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish & 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 no older 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, DES Environmental Health Program: (603) 271-4608.
Applications for next year's moose hunt will be available via the Fish and Game website or license agents statewide between January and May 2010.
Visit a photo gallery from the 2008 N.H. moose hunt -- and find out more about moose hunting in New Hampshire -- at http://www.huntnh.com/Hunting/Hunt_species/hunt_moose.htm