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Moose Hunt Outlook

By Kristine Rines, N.H. Fish and Game Moose Project Leader

Posted August 2, 2018

 

mooseThe 2018 moose season will take place statewide October 20-28, with 51 permits being issued. All permits will be for either-sex moose. Permit levels are set to obtain the goals (expressed in terms of regional moose density) set by the public during the Department’s game management planning process in 2016.

 

The Connecticut Lakes Region is comprised of wildlife management units (WMUs) A1 and A2. Ten either-sex permits are issued here, the same as were issued last year. This low level of permits should allow the population to remain at goal, help maintain the current adult sex ratio and the recent increase in population growth rate. This region typically sees success rates between 75% and 85%. In 2017, the success rate was 80%. Last year, 75% of the take of all permits was adult bulls (aged 2.5 and older), and 88% of the total take were bulls 1.5 years of age and older. Successful moose hunters saw 0.20 moose per hour hunted in 2017.

 

The North Region (WMUs B, C2, and D1) was issued 15 either-sex permits, the same as were issued in 2017. This permit level should help this population to continue to grow toward goal while maintaining the adult sex ratio. Last year 50% of all moose taken were adult bulls, and 58% were bulls 1.5 years of age and older. Successful moose hunters saw 0.26 moose per hour in 2017. Last year, this region saw a success rate of 71% for all permits combined. This region typically sees success rates of 75-90%.

 

The White Mountain Region (WMUs C1, D2, E1, E2, E3, and F) offers hunters the opportunity for a true wilderness hunt. The bulk of this region lies within the White Mountain National Forest. Access is primarily limited to foot traffic. Hunters must be prepared to get their moose out without the use of motorized vehicles. This moose population has remained relatively stable over the past five years. Total permit issuance remained the same as last year with 15 either-sex permits issued in 2018. Last year the success rate was 69%. Sixty-four percent of the kill was adult bulls, and no yearling bulls were taken. Moose seen per hour by successful moose hunters was 0.16 in 2017, which is typical for this region. The success rate for this region is usually within the range of 50-75%.

 

The Central Region (WMUs G, H1, I1, I2, J1, and J2) is more heavily settled than those regions to the north. Land ownership here and in the two remaining southern regions is primarily by private landowners.  Moose densities and access continue to be good here, and this population has seen a recent increase after nine years of steady decline. Total permits have been reduced here from 110 in 2010-11 to 80 in 2012-13, 25 in 2014, and 10 either-sex permits in 2015. Six either-sex permits, one per unit, have been issued here in the past two years and will be issued here again in 2018. Last year, successful moose hunters saw 0.10 moose per hunting hour, which is typical for the region. The success rate was 100%. Hunters took 50% adult bulls, one bull aged 1.5 years and two adult cows. Success rates for the past five years have been in the range of 45-100%.

 

The moose density in the Southwest Region (WMUs H2N, H2S and K) declined to the population cut-off threshold for permit issuance established in the moose management plan and as a result permits were not issued here in 2017 or 2018. While this population has seen growth back towards the goal in the past year, in order for permits to be re-issued the population must grow for at least two consecutive years and be at least 13% above the cut-off threshold.

 

The Southeast Region (WMUs L and M) has very high human population densities and the lowest moose density. Access is limited, and hunters will need to do considerable scouting and contacting of property owners to have a successful hunt. Twenty either-sex permits were issued here from 2010 through 2013 with five either-sex permits issued in 2014 through 2017, and again in 2018. No moose were seen by hunters last year and the success rate was 0%. Success rates have ranged from 0 to 50% in this region over the past 5 years. This moose population has been stable for the past five years.

 

The following chart indicates recommended moose population density goals and current density levels by region expressed as moose/mi2:

 

Moose Population Density
REGION  RECOMMENDED GOAL CURRENT LEVEL
Ct. Lakes 2.24 1.94
North 1.28 0.82
White Mtns. 0.47 0.33
Central 0.25 0.23
Southwest 0.23 0.21
Southeast 0.1 0.1