PORTLAND — An aerial survey shows Maine has about 76,000 moose.

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife uses a double-count technique in the winter where two observers independently report the number of moose observed while flying in a helicopter over northern and eastern Maine. One observer sits in the front of the helicopter while the other sits in the back on the same side. They feed data to a recorder.

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The technique was adapted from Quebec and New Brunswick, where it was used to count deer.

The aerial survey is far more accurate and efficient than previously used methods in Maine, state officials said, including transect counts from fixed wing, line-track intercept techniques, a modified Gasaway survey and Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR).

“This new technique turned out to be a good and accurate way to look at moose across a big part of Maine, which we’ve never had the opportunity to do before,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Lee Kantar. “It’s exciting to finally have the techniques to get so much information on moose in the state because the more we know about moose, the better able the department is to manage this magnificent resource for the people of Maine.”

The department did not survey southern Maine, saying the low moose population numbers in the area would likely add little to the total statewide population.