Date of Award

Spring 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Natural Resources: Wildlife

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Peter J Pekins


This study examined relationships among winter ticks, weather, and the nutritional and reproductive status of moose, and the impact of moose on regeneration of commercial forests in northern New Hampshire. Three methods were evaluated to assess their usefulness as indices of relative winter tick abundance, and predictors of tick epizootics: tick counts on harvested moose and roadside, spring hair-loss surveys were considered time and cost effective to index winter tick abundance. Physical characteristics of harvested moose (1988--2009) indicated ovulation rates (∼20%), and mean body weight (<200 kg) of yearlings declined since 1988; because adult body weight and ovulation rates remained stable, habitat quality was unlikely related. Winter tick epizootics are likely influenced by abnormal large scale weather events, as evident in the widespread die-off in 2002 associated with warm snowless conditions into mid-December 2001 that extended tick transmission to moose. Spring and fall weather should be monitored for unusual conditions causing high tick abundance and tick loads, particularly warm and snowless conditions in April and December. Mean stocking rate of all age classes of commercial tree species was above the threshold in all regions (49--87%); forest regeneration was not considered a regional problem at any moose density.