Associated Press reporter Patrick Whittle interviewed Lee and published a news story about this in mid-May. I have asked DIF&W for a report on the most recent moose research, but have not yet received anything. When I do I will tell you all about it.
For now, I’m limited to Whittle’s story. “Survival of calves is much improved this year and the adult mortality is very low,” Lee told him. He still thinks we’ve got between 60,000 and 70,000 moose, although many sportsmen and women who spend lots of time in the woods disagree. Just yesterday I had a well-known outdoorsman express great distress that he is not seeing any moose in an area that was once teeming with them.
Whittle reported that a New Hampshire moose biologist said that less calves died this winter because many ticks died in last fall’s drought, unable to access moisture.
I’ve been told that eventually Maine’s moose population will get low enough that ticks won’t be a big problem. That’s not good enough for me. I think we should be aggressively looking for ways to save our moose. That is not currently part of Lee’s research, and there is no plan at DIF&W to do this.
I’m also wondering what happened to the moose in my town of Mount Vernon. We used to have a bunch of them, including on my woodlot, and I would see them often. I haven’t seen one in 6 or 7 years. Some folks think ticks killed them, but if low density of moose means less deaths by ticks, that couldn’t have been the problem in Mount Vernon. I can tell you that the habitat has not changed.
If and when I get the latest research from Lee, I’ll let you know.