Vermont zeroing in on moose permit numbers

(Vermont Fish & Wildlife photo)

MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board recently gave preliminary approval to a total of 80 bulls-only permits for the October 2017 moose hunting seasons. Based on the Fish & Wildlife Department’s recommendation, 63 bulls-only permits would be issued for the regular hunting season and 17 bulls-only permits for the archery hunting season.

Limited, regulated moose hunting through a permit system is proposed in 12 of the state’s 21 Wildlife Management Units. After receiving public comment through emails, letters and public hearings, the board will set the number of permits for Vermont’s 2017 moose hunting seasons on April 5.

The 80 permits proposed by the department represent a 52 percent decrease from the 165 permits approved last year. Fish & Wildlife biologists estimate Vermont has 1,750 moose statewide with the greatest concentration in the Northeast Kingdom. Under the proposal, state officials expect about 34 bulls to be taken given typical hunter success rates.

“We continue to take a very conservative approach to moose management in Vermont,” said Mark Scott, director of wildlife for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “The intent of the proposal is to allow slow population growth of Vermont’s moose herd by eliminating all hunting of cow and calf moose.” Scott explained to the Board that the 2017 moose season proposal will allow some level of hunting opportunity, yet still promote an increase of moose in many parts of the state.

Vermont’s archery-only moose season is scheduled for October 1-7.  The regular moose season is October 21-26.

If the Board approves the bulls-only 2017 hunt at its April meeting, then moose hunting permit lottery applications, $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents, will be available immediately afterwards on Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website at vtfishandwildlife.com. Two separate lotteries will be held, one for the regular hunting season and one for the archery season. Winners of either lottery must purchase resident hunting permits for $100 or nonresident hunting permits for $350. Hunters also will have the option to bid on five moose hunting permits in an auction to be announced later.

The proposal is available for public review at vtfishandwildlife.com. Comments on the proposal may  be sent to ANR.FWPublicComment@vermont.gov. Three Fish and Wildlife Board public hearings also are being held to provide an opportunity for comment on the proposed moose season. The hearings will be held at the following locations:

  • Tuesday, March 21, Brattleboro, 6:30-9 p.m. — Brattleboro Area Middle School, 109 Sunny Acres, Brattleboro, Vt.
  • Thursday, March 23, Island Pond, 6:30-9 p.m. — Brighton Town Hall, 49 Mill Street, Island Pond, Vt.
  • Saturday, March 25, Middlebury, 12:30-5 p.m. — Middlebury High School Cafeteria, 73 Charles Avenue, Middlebury, Vt. (Note: These hearings will be held as part of the Department’s annual Wildlife Open House.)

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