Those are the words of Eric Orff in his New Hampshire Fish & Wildlife News published in the October 2016 edition of the Northwoods Sporting Journal.
As we approach the end of Maine’s first week of moose hunting, this sobering news from New Hampshire is certainly troubling. New Hampshire’s moose population, according to Orff, has declined from 7500 to 3500, due to warmer winters and ticks.
“An ongoing UNH/Fish and Game moose study (found that there) was an average of 42,000 ticks on each moose. Moose calves cannot support those numbers and 81 percent of the moose calves died last winter along with nearly 25 percent of adult cows,” reported Orff.
Orff also noted that the weight of adult cow moose is down, due to the hot summer, and “the percentage of cows giving birth to twin calves was down to only 11% when the 2002 to 2005 moose study was conducted by Fish and Game. In the last three summers of the current study, NO twinning is now taking place. And the calving rate has declined from 75% of adult producing calves in 2002 to only 54% last year and 60% this year.”
Maine’s moose biologist Lee Kantar has expressed concern over low calving rates, and is now studying the problem. And Maine’s moose hunting permits have been cut in half in the last three years, to 2,140, as ticks take a toll on our moose population.
Having just closed up our camp on the edge of Baxter Park, where we saw only one moose all summer long, there is no doubt in my mind that our moose population is in trouble. We used to see moose all over the park, and on our lawn, and in our ponds and bogs, constantly. But not anymore.