Moose Research Underway in North Country
If you spot a pink or yellow ear tag and a collar on that moose you're watching up north, don't worry, your eyes aren't fooling you. The animal is marked as part of the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and New Hampshire Fish and Game Moose Research Project in Coos County, a study that is providing critical management data about the rates and causes of mortality and the habitat needs of moose in this region of New Hampshire.
The joint research project has been underway since December of 2001, when Fish and Game and UNH biologists kicked off the cooperative effort to study moose in northern New Hampshire. That season, forty Coos County moose (25 cows and 15 calves) were captured using helicopter net-gunning techniques and fitted with radio collars and yellow ear tags. In December 2002, 25 more moose (4 cows and 21 calves) were fitted with radio collars and pink ear tags. Currently, 39 study moose remain (26 adult cows, eight yearling bulls and five yearling cows). Most of the study moose are in the Milan, Success, Cambridge, Errol and Dummer townships, but you may see these study moose, especially yearling bulls, in many neighboring towns as well.
The radio collars on the moose allow research technicians to track the movements and habitat use of the study population, giving researchers valuable information on population dynamics, mortality and habitat needs. Information collected on the study moose will enable Fish and Game biologists to more effectively manage the state's overall moose population. This beneficial study, funded solely by moose hunters, will run through the summer of 2005.
It's easy to spot a study moose -- they can be differentiated from other moose by the distinctive yellow or pink numbered ear tags and brown or white radio collar. Each moose's ear tags are uniquely numbered so that they can be identified by simple visual observations. The general public can aid the project by contacting the researchers stationed at the Kilkenny Guard Station on York Pond Road in West Milan with any observations of tagged moose (telephone: 603/449-2094). The ear tag number is particularly important to identify, but also note the location, time, activity and whether the moose was sighted with any other moose (especially calves).
Always remember that the study moose are still wild animals, so approaching them, or any other wild animal, is not recommended, according to Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Kristine Bontaites. Enjoy the sight of these magnificent animals from a distance and call in your observations to the researchers at Kilkenny Station.