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


Personnel

Participating Agencies

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

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
Blouin, J., J. DeBow, E. Rosenblatt, J. Hines, C. Alexander, K. Gieder, N. Fortin, J. Murdoch, and T. Donovan. 2021. Moose habitat selection and fitness consequences during two critical winter tick life stages in Vermont, USA. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 9:642276. | Abstract | Download | Publisher Website May 2021
Blouin, J., J. DeBow, E. Rosenblatt, C. Alexander, K. Gieder, J. Murdoch, and T. Donovan. Modeling moose habitat use by age, sex, and season in Vermont, USA using high-resolution lidar and National Land Cover data. Alces 57:71-98. | Abstract | Download | Publisher Website September 2021
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
Blouin, J. 2021. Assessing moose habitat suitability and fitness consequences of habitat selection during two critical winter tick life stages in Vermont, USA. MS Thesis, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. May 2021