Vermont moose hunting permit applications are now available on Vermont Fish & Wildlife s website. (VTF&W photo by Wayne Laroche)
Vermont moose hunting permit applications are now available on Vermont Fish & Wildlife s website. (VTF&W photo by Wayne Laroche) (Wayne Laroche)

MONTPELIER -- Vermont moose hunting permit applications are now available on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department's website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com). Printed applications will be available from Vermont license agents in early May.

The 285 regular moose season permits to be issued this year represent a 20 percent decrease from the 355 permits issued last year. Hunters are expected to harvest close to 150 moose during the regular season hunt which starts Oct. 18 and ends Oct. 23.

An additional 50 permits are designated for the Oct. 1-7 archery moose season when hunters are expected to take about 15 moose.

"We recommended a reduction in permits this year based on the biological data we have collected on Vermont's moose and our calculated population estimates indicating moose densities are below management goals in some areas," said biologist Cedric Alexander, Vermont's moose project leader. "It's the intent of this proposal to allow slow population growth in some regions while continuing to stabilize moose numbers elsewhere."

Alexander says applicants need to realize some Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) boundaries have changed to better reflect current wildlife populations and habitat conditions. Check page 22 of the 2014 Hunting, Fishing & Trapping Laws and Guide or go to Vermont Fish & Wildlife's website for the new WMU maps and descriptions: (www.vtfishandwildlife.com/wmu_maps.cfm).

Lottery applications are $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. The deadline to apply is June 10. Winners of the permit lottery will purchase resident hunting permits for $100 and 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.

Alexander estimates Vermont has 2,500 moose statewide with the greatest concentration in the Northeast Kingdom.