Moose populations in the northeast have been on the decline for years, but this winter brought more winter ticks than ever before. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Maine were so concerned with the parasites’ effect on moose populations, that they have decreased the number of permits for the 2014 fall hunts from 4,085 to 3,095. That’s a 25% cut.
Winter ticks attack all hoofed animals, but generally target moose. They can grow to nearly a half inch in size during their adult stage, reached mid-winter. Although they thrive in the winter months, they prefer warmer weather. Naturally, global warming is being cited as a possible cause for the drastic increase in winter tick activity.
In January, a study in Maine tracking moose collared 60 moose. By early Spring, 21 calves and nine adults of that sample were dead as a result of anemia caused by winter ticks.
Kristine Rines, a moose biologist in New Hampshire, has stated that moose are already at the southern edge of their range in the state, so warm weather factors like winter ticks are already a concern. The shorter, warmer winters are only increasing this issue.
New Hampshire will only be issuing 124 moose hunting permits this year – down from 675 permits only ten years ago. Unless the winter tick problem is addressed, the number of permits for moose will continue to dwindle.
For more on moose hunting permits and for all of your game equipment needs, contact Morse Sporting Goods in New Hampshire today.