At the tagging station in Ashland, hunting guide Magella Bouchard, looks at his map to give the location of where his client shot a moose on opening day of the 2020 Maine moose hunt. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

CARIBOU, Maine — Maine wildlife authorities are considering increasing the number of moose hunting permits offered by the state in an attempt to curb the infestation of winter ticks.

Winter ticks are parasites that plague the moose population. They’re different from the ticks that spread Lyme disease to humans, but are a major pest for the state’s moose herd.

State biologists have proposed an 11 percent increase in moose permits for this fall’s hunt. That would increase the number of permits to 3,480, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Maine moose biologist Lee Kantar said the state hopes to find out whether reducing the moose densities in part of the state would help reduce the tick infestation. That could ultimately reduce deaths among moose and help improve the health of the herd as a whole.

The number of moose permits has increased by hundreds over the past few years. Tens of thousands of hunters apply for the permits via an annual lottery system.