The deadline is approaching to enter New Hampshire's moose permit lottery. Entries are due Friday, May 30. The state is offering permits to 124 winners for this year's moose hunt, which runs from Oct. 18-26. Last year's statewide hunter success rate for moose was 64 percent. Winners will be selected through a computerized random drawing and announced on Friday, June 20. To enter, visit http://www.huntnh.com to apply online or print out a mail-in application. Participants also can pick up a lottery application from any Fish and Game office or license agent. The entry fee is $15 for New Hampshire residents and $25 for nonresidents.
October is the annual breeding season, "the rut" for the largest denizens of New Hampshire's North Country: Moose. It's also the annual moose hunting season.
Following the initial recovery of moose populations, an annual moose hunt has occurred since 1988. That first year, 75 permits were issued for a three-day hunt in the North Country only. Last year, 400 moose permit hunters took 290 moose.
This year 275 coveted moose hunting permits were awarded by lottery from among more than 13,400 applicants for the nine-day season.
Long before Bullwinkle, has the moose been an iconic favorite in the state. In fact, naturalists for years have referred to them as 'charismatic megafauna'. But recently the numbers of these gentle giants have reduced, some blame disease, others climate change. Now the state is doling out nearly $700.00 to tag and study the antlered animal. Today we learn more about the moose and what's being done to bring its numbers back.
There are between 800,000 and 1.2 million moose in North America, but scientists are concerned that their numbers are shrinking – and fast. Moose populations from New Hampshire to Minnesota have been plummeting for years – as much as twenty-five percent each year in some cases – and while there are plenty of theories, nobody’s quite sure why.
Jim Robbins is a freelance writer and regular contributor to the New York Times. He wrote about the moose die-off for the Times’ environment section.