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Vt. moose season opens with sharply reduced harvest goals - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. moose season opens with sharply reduced harvest goals

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BARTON, Vt. -

Moose season is underway in Vermont, but this year's substantially lower harvest target means a lot less hunters are in the woods.

Moose biologist Cedric Alexander checks in with his fish and wildlife colleagues, scattered at various check stations all over the state for the 6-day long moose hunting season. 

Alexander is stationed in Barton, and he's waiting for anybody to show up, bringing with them a prize. 

Cedric Alexander: I've had two moose here at Barton today so far. I'm hoping to get a couple more before the days out. 

Reporter Eliza Larson: Seems kind of slow?

Cedric Alexander:Well, it's all relative.

Last year 13 moose were brought to Barton opening weekend. As of Sunday afternoon Alexander's only seen five. He attributes the slow days to a couple things -- like how Vermont Fish and Wildlife only issued 135 permits this year. That's down by 40 percent from last year. "We have had continued reductions in permits since 2011 just to lessen the impact of the hunt," he said.

In the early 2000s Vermont Fish and Wildlife gave out more than a thousand permits each year. That's because the moose population was booming, and the department whittled it down by allowing more hunters. But ticks and other environmental factors intervened. Now there are approximately 2,200 hundred moose in the state of Vermont. Alexander says he wants to bring that number up to 3,000. 

Hunters with permits can only shoot at bulls, unless they're permitted to hunt for bulls, cows, and calves -- but that's only in two management areas of Northern Vermont. "We'd like to see that population grow back so we can have 400 permits every year," Alexander said.

Alexander is confident the plan will work. For 2016 they're hoping hunters bring in 70 moose. Next year? Maybe more. 

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