Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Vermont
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Vermont Project

Population Ecology of Moose in Vermont

August 2017 - June 2024


Participating Agencies

  • Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
  • U.S. Geological Survey
Moose in Vermont

Concern has risen in Vermont and neighboring states over the past decade regarding high mortality and low recruitment rates of resident moose populations, causing population declines. High winter tick (Dermacentor albipictus) infestations are considered to be a major cause of these trends. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department utilizes population models to estimate regional moose numbers and determine appropriate management actions. Model inputs such as age structure, sex ratio, and mortality and recruitment rates are inputs to this model. Management of Vermont’s moose would benefit greatly from more precise estimates of these rates and a population viability assessment. This proposal is to investigate rates of moose mortality, productivity, recruitment, and genetics of moose populations over a three-year period in Wildlife Management Units E1 and E2, which collectively constitute moose management region “E”. This region contains 632 square miles of moose habitat, and hosts the highest moose densities (up to 1.75 moose/sq. mi), highest winter tick loads, and low deer densities. This project is a collaboration between the Vermont Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, the University of Vermont, and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. It builds on work done in the neighboring states of New Hampshire, Maine, and New York. The study will contribute to a broader understanding of moose population trends in the Northeast region.

Research Publications Publication Date
DeBow, J., J. Blouin, E. Rosenblatt, K. Gieder, W. Cottrell, J. Murdoch, and T. Donovan. 2021. Effects of winter ticks and internal parasites on moose survival in Vermont, USA. Journal of Wildlife Management. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.22101 | Abstract | Download | Publisher Website August 2021
Presentations Presentation Date
DeBow, J, C. Alexander, J. Murdoch, and T. Donovan. Assessing mortality and productivity of moose in northern Vermont: Year one preliminary data. 51st Annual Moose Conference and Workshop, Ingonish, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, August 28 - September 01 2017. August 2017
DeBow, J., C. Alexander, J. Murdoch, and T. M. Donovan. An Overview of Ongoing Moose Mortality and Productivity Research in Northern Vermont. Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative Conference, Burlington, VT. 15 December 2017. December 2017
DeBow, J., J. Murdoch, T. M. Donovan, and C. Alexander. 2017. Overview of moose mortality and productivity research in northern Vermont. April 15-17, 2018. 74th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference, Burlington, Vermont. April 2018
Rosenblatt, E., T. M. Donovan, and J. Murdoch. Novel wildlife population estimates using pedigree reconstruction: exploring applications with moose (Alces alces). April 15-17, 2018. 74th Annual Northeast Fish and Wildlife Conference. April 15-17, 2018. Burlington Vermont April 2018
Blouin, J. DeBow, J., E. Rosenblatt, T. Donovan, J. Murdoch, and C. Alexander. Assessing moose habitat suitability in Vermont using GPS radio-collar data and LIDAR imagery. June 10-14, 2019. 53d Annual North American Moose Conference. Carrabassett Valley, Maine. June 2019
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
DeBow, J. 2020. Effects of winter ticks and internal parasites on moose survival and fecundity in Vermont, USA. MS Thesis. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT USA. May 2020