Henry Jones: 603-744-5470
Linda Verville: 603-271-1122
October 27, 2022
Concord, NH – New Hampshire’s 2022 moose hunting season closed this past Sunday with hunters harvesting a total of 27 moose, 23 bulls and 4 cows, according to Henry Jones, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Moose Project Leader.
Hunters achieved a 63% success rate during the nine-day season. Forty-three people received permits to take part in the hunt, including 41 lottery permit holders, 1 through a permit auctioned by the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire, and 1 Dream Hunt participant sponsored by the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation. In 2021, the overall moose hunter success rate was 73%, while the average success rate over the past five years has been 72%.
Several large bulls were taken this season, including one that had a 65-inch antler spread and weighed 850 pounds dressed. The moose was taken by permittee Elise McNaughton and sub-permittee Brent Rheinhardt. Elise was also the youngest participating hunter this year.
A highlight for check station personnel was the story of a father and son team, Scott and Nathan Messenger of Newbury, NH. The Messengers were focused on taking a bull and ensuring that the animal was properly handled to safeguard the high quality meat and minimize waste. After many hours of scouting, they found an area with an abundance of moose and good access. During the first few days of the season, they chose not to hunt on several occasions because the temperatures were too warm for their animal processing standards.
On October 19, conditions were in the Messengers favor. The moose were “holed up” in an area of softwood cover. While shifting their spot, the Messenger’s paths accidentally crossed that of two small bulls, placing the hunters 25 yards upwind and in the wide open. Neither of these bulls was a moose they wanted to take, so they froze and relied on their pre-hunt efforts to minimize their human scent. Shortly thereafter, a larger bull stepped in front of the smaller ones. They remained patient and eventually the larger bull stepped away from the other two and was cleanly harvested. The Messenger crew field dressed the moose and dragged it 500 yards by hand with a total of four people using a sled and harness system.
When they arrived at the registration check station 1.5 hours after their harvest, biologists were impressed with how fresh the moose was: rigor mortis had not yet set in. It was a 2.5-year-old bull that weighed 575 pounds dressed.
Learn more about moose hunting in New Hampshire at www.huntnh.com/hunting/moose.html.