State biologists are recommending an increase of just 1 percent to the moose permits for the 2022 fall hunt, Maine moose biologist Lee Kantar said Tuesday.

In a meeting with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Advisory Council on Tuesday, Kantar said state biologists were only recommending to increase last year’s permits by 50 to 4,080.

Last fall, 4,030 permit-holders hunted moose, including 550 in a small area of northwestern Maine (Wildlife Management District 4A) where a new adaptive-hunt was held for the first year of a five-year study to test the theory that an increased harvest would lead to a decrease in the winter tick parasite and a healthier moose herd. According to a Jan. 31 IFW report, 2,607 moose were harvested.

Winter tick continues to be a concern in Maine, Kantar said, although he did not yet have mortality numbers for this winter.

Kantar is proposing an increase of 50 permits in Wildlife Management District 8 around Moosehead Lake to bring the permits in the hunting district up to 300, which Kantar called “ground zero” for the winter tick parasite.

There are no changes proposed for the adaptive hunting zone. Kantar said his overall impression of the adaptive hunt’s first year were positive, though it would take five years to test the theory.

“People took more calves in (4A), so that’s positive,” Kantar told the IFW Advisory Council. “The whole concept is to bring the population down to break the winter tick (life) cycle.”

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