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At Issue: Moose Season - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

At Issue: Moose Season

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -

Reporter: "The moose hunters themselves -- were they seeing the same problem as the other hunters about the food being plentiful?"

Vt. Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry: "Yeah, but generally speaking, moose hunters will start scouting weeks in advance. And so -- and they'll travel a lot through the woods and have a really good idea of where those animals are going to be so they can kind-of pattern them in return, hopefully. And there are some areas of the state where the densities are just high enough that you can come across a number of animals. So those folks who took the time to scout are probably going to be the most successful.

You know, the season went fairly well, and actually the numbers -- the preliminary numbers -- seem to be comparable to previous years and there were some really nice moose that were taken.

I think the sizes are fairly comparable from what I've seen. But like I said, we've got to assess the data that we take at these check stations before we get a real sense of the health trajectory."

Reporter: "But anecdotally it has been good?"

Berry: "Anecdotally, yeah, it's been good."

Reporter: "And back to the deer ticks -- I had heard we had originally started the hunt -- the moose hunt -- to kind-of control the moose population. With the ticks, are we worried that that population is now and we don't need the hunt season anymore?"

Berry: "We're not quite there yet. I mean, we still have certain parts of the state where the densities are kind-of where we want them, and we need hunters to help keep them in check a little bit. We look at this very carefully, and we actually dropped the permit numbers this year from the previous two years. But make no mistake, they are still a healthy enough herd that hunters can help us keep them in check with habitat and food resources.

And here's what we'll do: We are going to look at the success rates -- how do people do out there, how many moose were actually harvested. We're going to look at animal health -- when you bring moose into these very specific check stations, we take a lot of data off those animals, including body weights, age, sex, etc. so we get a sense of how healthy the animals are. And this year we actually added the addition of looking for those winter ticks. So by the time that we present our proposal for the next season to the Fish & Wildlife Board -- they make the regulations -- we'll have a good idea of the overall health of the animals in the herd, and we'll adjust permits accordingly. And if we're concerned about the animal health, then sure, we'll drop the permit numbers. And if we think that the population is getting a little bit low in some part of the state, then we can drop those numbers. If it's getting a little bit bigger, then we can increase the permit numbers. So we're really lucky that we have hunters as our partners to help keep the animals in check throughout the state regionally."

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