Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Population Ecology of Moose in Vermont

Moose in Vermont


August 2017 - June 2020


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, and recruitment 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 Products and Activities


  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
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Current Staff

Federal Staff: 95

Masters Students: 238

Phd Students: 144

Post Docs: 54

University Staff: 239

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 673

Scientific Publications: 1905

Presentations: 4236



Funding Agencies

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


Cooperative Research Units Program Headquarters Cooperators

  1. U.S. Geological Survey