New Hampshire Moose Hunters Had a Big Ol’ Year

by Jon D. B.

With a whopping 73% success rate, New Hampshire hunters brought in an incredibly successful moose harvest this season.

Out of Concord, New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is reporting a total of 30 moose harvested this hunting season for the state. That’s a remarkable number, as moose hunting remains a highly sought-after privilege for hunters.

And the turnout for this year’s moose hunt was huge. Over 5,500 people would enter the lottery in hopes to harvest a NH moose of their own. Like most states, hunting the species in NH is available only through lottery permits.

Through Associated Press’ data from the Dept., we know this is a 73% success rate for NH’s permit-holding hunters. Sportsmen and women had nine days to successfully bag their moose, with the 2021 season ending October 24.

As impressive as this success rate is, it is still a drop from 2020’s. Last year saw a 75% harvest rate for moose hunters in New Hampshire.

Yet many Americans still think of the moose as an endangered or threatened species. These giant cervids were hunted to near-extinction in the 19th century, with most of the 20th being spent saving them from annihilation. And the good news is: North American conservation did exactly that.

Currently, New Hampshire’s moose population sits between 3,000 and 4,000 individuals, cites New Hampshire Fish and Game (NHFG). The species density across the state, too, is healthy, and “typical” for hunted populations across the continent.

Despite Successes, Moose Remain NH ‘Species of Greatest Conservation Need’

This does not, however, mean that the species is safe and/or should be opened for wide hunting. In fact, carefully orchestrated, limited moose hunting – and the funding it generates – is largely responsible for keeping the species extant in New Hampshire.

(Photo by: Jon G. Fuller / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

As NHFG explains, moose are not currently a threatened or endangered species in the state. Over the last decade, the species’ population has grown or stabilized across the state.

“Our moose do face threats,” however, NHFG states in their address to the public on the species. These threats are outlined in the Dept.’s Wildlife Action Plan, via the threats and actions section (in Appendix A of the plan).  

According to the plan, ongoing threats for moose include:

  1. Habitat loss and fragmentation due to development and lack of clear cutting
  2. The possibility that heat stress may impact body condition and reduce productivity
  3. Increased mortality and decreased productivity due to increases in winter tick
  4. Increases in mortality due to increasing deer densities causing higher brainworm parasitism
  5. Mortality from motor vehicles.

Thankfully, the poaching of this sought-after species is a far-less common threat.As such, New Hampshire’s moose hunting season remains a vital player in the conservation of North America’s largest deer species. And any Outsider can agree: North America would be a much less majestic place without our iconic moose.