View Full Version : Moose Apocalypse on Salmon Mountain? (WARNING: Graphic dead animal photos)

05-31-2016, 11:02 AM
My wife and I hiked three boundary peaks on Saturday in NH: Mt D'Urban, Unnamed (Snag Pong Peak), and Salmon Mountain.

The good news was the Salmon Mountain was an astonishingly easy bushwhack from the height of land on East Inlet Road. Open woods, incredibly easy whacking.
What was shocking though is that we encountered two moose carcasses. I hike all the time and I've never seen anything like this before. I never encounter animal carcasses, let alone two on the same peak. The first moose was only 100 feet from the canister right on top of Salmon. The second moose was about a mile down from the summit heading in a south easterly direction. You could smell it from like the Andromeda Galaxy it smelled so awful man.

Anyone have any theories on this? At first I was thinking that maybe the moose were shot at the border swath (given the insane number of Quebec hunting shantys right on the swath) and then they ran deep into the woods of Salmon and died. The other thought I had is that is it possible the northern NH wolf population is taking out the moose? I don't know. All I know is that seeing two dead moose carcasses on the same peak within a mile of each other was extremely bizarre to me. I sent these to the NH Wildlife biologist.

First moose, just a stones throw from the Salmon Mountain canister:
Second moose - about a mile down from the summit in a southeasterly direction:

05-31-2016, 11:24 AM
Another possible killer: Winter ticks, which have been decimating the moose population. More info here: https://www.mffp.gouv.qc.ca/english/wildlife/wildlife-habitats/winter-tick.jsp

05-31-2016, 11:36 AM
I've come across a dead moose on the trail before, and like you mention...the stench is unreal. Smelled it way before we saw it...

I also agree ticks should be considered. I've been hearing stories about how they are. or will be, decimating the deer and moose population

05-31-2016, 11:43 AM
You can rule out the wolf theory. Those skeletons are as complete and articulated as you're ever going to find outside a crypt. Nothing bigger than an ant has disturbed them. I think they died during the winter, and were covered by snow until recently.

(Go far enough north and you can see naturally freeze-dried moose mummies - my first one was a complete head, neck and shoulder, sticking upright from a river bank on a foggy day!)

I saw (vulture-picked bits of) a moose carcass myself this weekend - it's the normal time of year for finding corpses.

It's not just moose that get found in the spring: http://www.vftt.org/forums/showthread.php?57752-Missing-hiker-Pinkham-Notch-Search-is-on There was another body found in about the same spot around five years ago.

05-31-2016, 12:02 PM
I started a recent thread that NH F&G did study last winter on moose mortality by catching and collaring moose with trackers. 3/4 of the calves died due to winter tick infestations.

05-31-2016, 12:13 PM
I guess there's a first for everything. Despite so much trailless hiking, I have never seen a moose carcass before, let alone two. I guess this is more common than I thought. I think the tick hypothesis is the most likely - that is horrible that they are taking such a toll on the moose.

SIDE NOTE: I do not consider myself a hard core environmentalist, but even I was shocked at the ATV devastation on the border swath. The ATVs are travelling the border swath coming in from the Quebec side and annihilating the topography. The mud, erosion, ruts, etc...going up the swath of D'Urban was absolutely terrible. The ATVs have even chewed through/shattered a lot of the soft rock and ledge on the swath. Brutal. Soooooo bad man, I couldn't believe it.

05-31-2016, 03:06 PM
By the way, a biologist can cut the bone and determine the animals condition prior to death by observing the bone marrow. A tick infested moose is essentially starving as most of its blood is being sucked out by ticks, I expect that the bone marrow will indicate starvation compared to a healthy moose that escaped after being shot by a hunter.

You observations about the border and ATV use is significant one along the border, fish and game agents frequent bust Canadian hunters working the US side of the border in more remote areas. I expect the border patrols scrutiny has decreased this.

05-31-2016, 05:23 PM
I can imagine the damage caused by ATV's in the area. I am what I like to believe is a rational enviro guy. I had a quad and after seeing what it does to trails I figured I don't ride enough in specific parks for quads to keep mine. Sold it and wen't the route of a mt bike. I feel good about that decision.

06-01-2016, 06:27 AM
I started a recent thread that NH F&G did study last winter on moose mortality by catching and collaring moose with trackers. 3/4 of the calves died due to winter tick infestations.

This guy shot this video while snowmachineing up North.. Shows a mom with her calf dying of ticks... you can see it twitching trying to get up.. fish n game was called and went out to document it.