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Moose hunting permits cut, herd health concerning

MONTPELIER, Vt. - In recent years, Vermont's moose population has been plagued with its fair share of issues. Including impacts of climate change, and now ticks.

"The biggest question is, whether or not to issue permits for moose this year," said Louis Porter the commissioner of Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

"It's deeply upsetting, and for those biologists who've devoted their lives to managing and overseeing the moose herd it's devastating," said Porter.

Commissioner Porter says the moose herd used to be a wildlife success story in the Green Mountain State.

"At the peak, when we were intentionally drawing the moose population down to protect people from car crashes and moose from damaging their own habitat. We were issuing 1,200 permits in Vermont," said Porter.

In the effort to conserve moose, they're trying to bring numbers in balance with the available habitat.

Now, the biggest threat comes from a tiny parasite.

"There are moose out there with 20,000 to 80,000 ticks on them. For a calf that can literally bleed them dry," said Porter.

The fish and wildlife department's big game team recommended limiting permits to be awarded for the moose lottery. Mentioning giving out 14 permits for the harvesting of bull moose only in WMUs E1 and E2.

The deer population is healthy according to Wildlife Director, Mark Scott.

"For the big message, we are really concerned about is we have too many deer in the state of Vermont," said Scott.

But, the population continues to balloon, reaching 150,000 in Vermont. A population that isn't sustainable to the landscape.

"Too many on the landscape. They can have a negative impact on vegetation. They can destroy trees, and shrubs, and certain plants. And through time by doing that they affect their own wellbeing," said Scott.

He would like to see the deer heard fall by 10,000 to 15,000 to achieve an equilibrium.

"Our goal overall is to make sure we got a healthy herd and they are balanced with what the land can support. We can't do that if we don't have hunters engaged," said Scott.

Meeting List: Moose and Deer

  • Wednesday, March 21: Windsor Welcome Center, 3 Railroad Ave. Windsor, VT 05089
  • Thursday, March 22: Lake Region Union High School, 317 Lake Region Rd. Orleans, VT 05860

Meeting List: Moose and Deer

  • Tuesday, May 8: Rutland High School, 22 Stratton Rd. Rutland, VT 05701
  • Thursday, May 10: South Burlington High School, 550 Dorset St. South Burlington, VT 05403

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