CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Moose hunting season is still more than three months away, but 105 lucky hunters have bagged a chance to join the hunt.
New Hampshire’s 28th annual moose lottery drawing Friday in a packed meeting room at Fish and Game Department headquarters in Concord gave winners and losers alike a chance to swap hunting tales and stories from past drawings.
Gov. Maggie Hassan pushed the start button for the computerized random selection and list of winners from more than 9,500 applicants.
Among the last chosen was Nathanial Jones of Northfield, who leaped out of his seat, whooping with joy. He said it will be his first moose hunt.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “Can’t you tell?”
Last year, hunters in New Hampshire took 91 moose, for a statewide success rate of 72 percent. Regional success for moose hunters last year ranged from 81 percent in the Connecticut Lakes region to 40 percent in the southeastern part of the state.
New Hampshire has had an annual moose hunt since 1988, when 75 permits were issued for a three-day hunt in the North Country.
The number of permits offered in the lottery in recent years had decreased to reflect a decline in the state’s moose population. There were 275 permits in the lottery in 2012 and 2013, but the number dropped to 124 last year.
A six -year research project being conducted by Fish and Game, in cooperation with the University of New Hampshire, will provide additional information on moose mortality to aid in moose management efforts.
The state’s nine-day moose hunt this year will take place Oct. 17-25.
The names of the 2015 winners and alternates are posted on Fish and Game’s website at http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/hunting/moose-winners.html.