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VTF&W Board approves sharp decline in moose permits; no public lottery

(WCAX)
Published: Apr. 27, 2018 at 11:43 AM EDT
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Just 13 hunters will get the chance to bag a moose this year in Vermont.

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board this week took final action on the latest dramatic drop in permits. Unlike previous years, there will be no public lottery. Five permits will be available to Vermont military veterans and up to three permits will be available for recipients with life-threatening illnesses. The remaining five permits will be auctioned to the public.

Fish and Wildlife issued 1,260 permits as recently as 2008. Last year it was down to 70. Officials say the moose population has dropped from about 4,800 in 2005 down to 1,700. Winter ticks and other factors related to climate change are believed to be harming the population in Vermont, New Hampshire and other states.

"I suspect that we'll be at these low numbers of permits for the next few years at least. We have hope that as the moose population comes into balance with the tick predators that that population will start recovering," said Vt. Fish and WIldlife Commissioner Louis Porter.

Porter has defended continuing the hunt, saying the small number of animals taken will have virtually no impact on the population overall.

This year the hunt will be restricted to bull moose in just two management units in the northeastern corner of the state. Officials say those hunters with bonus points from previous years will have those points “frozen” so that they may be used in the future.

The annual moose hunt takes place over a two week period in October.