The winners of Vermont’s 2023 moose hunting permits were determined Wednesday, July 19, at a lottery drawing at the Fish and Wildlife office in Montpelier.
The drawing is done by a random sort of applications that were submitted by the June 21 deadline.
As part of the regular lottery drawing, a “special priority drawing” was held for five permits to go to applicants who are Vermont resident veterans. The unsuccessful applicants from the veteran drawing were included in the larger regular drawing that followed. All applicants for both drawings who did not receive a permit were awarded a bonus point to improve their chances in future moose permit lotteries.
The department will issue 80 either-sex moose hunting permits and 100 antlerless moose hunting permits for a hunt limited to Vermont’s Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) E in the northeastern corner of the state. The science-based hunt will result in an estimated harvest of about 100 moose, or 10 percent of the more than 1,000 moose currently estimated to live in WMU E.
Winners in this year’s moose hunting lottery are posted in a searchable database on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com).
If your name wasn’t drawn, you can still bid in Vermont’s auction for three moose hunting permits, which is open until August 9. Sealed bids must be received by Vermont Fish and Wildlife by 4:30 p.m. that day. Contact the department to receive a moose permit bid kit. Telephone 802-828-1190 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“Moose are abundant in WMU E with significantly higher population density than in any other part of the state,” said Nick Fortin, Vermont Fish and Wildlife’s moose project leader. “Moose are the primary host for winter ticks, and higher moose densities support high numbers of winter ticks which negatively impact moose health and survival.”
The Fish and Wildlife Department recently partnered with University of Vermont researchers to conduct a study of moose health and survival in WMU E. The results of this study, in which 126 moose (36 cows, 90 calves) were fitted with GPS tracking collars, showed that chronic high winter tick loads caused the health of moose in that part of the state to be very poor. Survival of adult moose remained relatively good, but birth rates were very low and less than half of the calves survived their first winter.
The goal of the Fish and Wildlife Department’s 2023 moose season recommendation is to improve the health of moose in WMU E by reducing the impact of winter ticks.
“Research has shown that lower moose densities support relatively few winter ticks that do not impact moose populations,” said Fortin. “Reducing moose density decreases the number of available hosts which in turn decreases the number of winter ticks on the landscape.”
“Given the poor health of the moose population in that area and a clearly identified cause, we need to take action to address this issue.” added Fortin. “These permits will help address winter tick impacts on moose in WMU E by reducing the density of moose on the landscape. Without intervention to reduce moose numbers in WMU E, high winter tick loads will continue to impact the health of moose in that region for many years.”