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Environment and Outdoors

Winter Tick Count Up in NH, Maine Figures Have Not Been Announced Yet

Preliminary numbers in New Hampshire indicate winter ticks have taken a huge toll on calves being tracked in the Granite State. Nearly three-quarters of the 36 calves wearing tracking collars have died from the blood-sucking insects.

State of Maine Moose Biologist Lee Kantar says, while Maine hasn't released it's figures yet, in western Maine it was a pretty rough year for calves. But he says calf mortality was quite a bit lower in northern Maine. Kantar says moose aren't as good at grooming ticks off themselves in the fall as are, for example, white tail deer.

"The winter tick is on the moose all winter up until right now when moose are molting and shedding their winter coat and so the three life stages, larvae, nymph and adult are all operating at the moose, taking blood meals on those three occasions," Kantar says.

The tagging is part of a six-year moose mortality study that began in 2014. Biologists in New Hampshire and Maine teamed up to help determine why moose populations in the region are declining.