New Hampshire’s moose hunters achieved a 26 percent success rate during the first two days of the nine-day season. Opening weekend saw 19 moose taken by hunters statewide of which 18 were bulls and one cow.
There are 72 moose hunters taking part this year — 69 lottery permit holders, two permits auctioned off by the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire to generate important conservation funding and one Hunt of a Lifetime participant.
In 2015, 31 percent of moose hunters were successful during the opening weekend.
“Opening weekend saw excellent hunting weather in the North Country. Both Saturday and Sunday mornings were cold, which is good because moose tend to be a little more active. By late Sunday, conditions had deteriorated, with rising winds and heavy leaf fall,” said Kristine Rines, the NH Fish and Game Department’s longtime moose biologist. “Hunters in northern New Hampshire were seeing quite a few bulls.”
The largest fully field-dressed moose checked in during opening weekend was taken by Joe Rogerson of Smyrna, Delaware. His bull, taken in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) C-1, had a dressed weight of 860 pounds and an antler spread of 51 inches.
Marcus Hampers of Plainfield, NH, took the moose with the greatest antler spread so far–an 810-pound bull with a 59 3/4-inch spread, taken in WMU A-2.
This year’s Hunt Of A Lifetime permit holder, youngster Arianna Smith of Milan, NH, took a 625-pound bull with a 36-inch antler spread in Unit B. Hunt Of A Lifetime is a nonprofit organization with a mission to grant hunting and fishing dreams for children age 21 and younger, who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. The participant hunts prior to the start of the regular season.
Rines explained that in addition to information and samples normally collected at moose check stations, biologists are collecting blood samples to test for West Nile Virus and Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE).
Fish and Game manages New Hampshire’s moose population in accordance with density goals defined in its 2016-2025 moose management plan. This plan seeks to meet regional moose population goals by balancing and incorporating social, economic, public safety and ecological factors using the best available science.