If you were planning on doing some moose hunting in Vermont this year, you’re going to find yourself competing for a smaller number of permits.

The state Fish and Wildlife Board tentatively approved a proposal to allow just 405 permits for the moose season in 2011, which takes place Oct. 15-20. That number is down from 765 the year before–a difference of 360 permits. In 2009, there were 1,223 permits issued.

Officials in Vermont insist that the reduction is being done to help facilitate a long-term moose management plan. The higher number of permits released in years past were simply to help reduce the moose population to manageable numbers, and that level of permitting was never intended to stay long-term.

Cedric Alexander, the moose project leader for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, said that from 2004 to 2010 the permit numbers were inflated.

“But we’re now at the point where we have achieved the population reductions called for in the plan and it’s time to scale back permit numbers,” he said.

The goal now is to keep the population stabilized at its current level.

New Hampshire recently did the same, dropping its permit numbers to about 400 for this hunting season.

But not all the moose hunting news in Vermont is bad. The board did approve an Oct. 1-7 archery season for moose, beginning in 2011. There will be 50 permits issued by lottery for the new hunt, which isn’t expected to return a high number of kills based on traditionally low-success numbers by archers.

Hunters may enter both the regular and archery-only moose season lotteries at a cost of $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents for each lottery. However, no person may receive more than one permit for either season during a three-year period.

The Fish and Wildlife Board will hold two public hearings on the permit proposal for the 2011 regular moose season. They will be April 26 at the Brighton Town Hall and April 28 at Spaulding High School in Barre; both meetings will begin at 7 p.m.

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