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Upside Of N.H.'s Drought: An Uptick In Moose Health

northeast naturalist via Flickr Creative Commons

Last year's drought in New Hampshire was tough on farmers and towns. But it turns out to have been good for moose.

Preliminary numbers from a project that puts tracking collars on moose show that only one of the calves — the most vulnerable group — died from winter ticks this year. A year ago, nearly 75 percent of the calves tracked died.

Moose biologist Kristine Rines says many of the blood-sucking ticks died because they were deprived of moisture. But the ticks still have a long-term advantage, with shorter winters and moose density on their side.

The latest findings come as a state commission prepares to vote Wednesday on a proposed 51 permits for the annual moose hunt, the lowest in nearly 30 years.

Permits have declined, partly because of the impact of parasites, both ticks and brainworm, on moose.

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