HAMPTON — Capt. Jeanne Bailey is hoping to tag her third moose this hunting season.
Bailey and her brother, Capt. Bob Tonkin, run Captain Bob’s Lobster Tours and Fishing Charters in Hampton. She said she was surprised when she learned she was one of only 49 people to be selected as a moose permit holder this year.
“I was at Fish and Game and I said, ‘You know, what the heck, I’ll donate my 20 bucks,’ thinking I would never ever get picked. So, I filled out the application, gave them my 20 bucks and forgot all about it,” Bailey explained.
“And then my brother called me one day and said, ‘Did you put in for the moose lottery?’ He said, ‘A friend of mine is down listening to the drawing and you got picked,’” Bailey said.
Bailey figured that since she had already tagged two moose, her chances of being selected again were slim. But now, she and her father are scouting locations in her permitted territory as she prepares to go on another hunt of a lifetime with him as the sub-permit.
“I do a lot of planning with my topo map but it’s mostly talking to people that know the area. They give you the best chances to go and find one, come opening day,” Bailey said.
Bailey was first picked for the moose lottery in 1991. She was permitted to hunt in Pittsburg and got a 500-pound bull.
Bailey tagged her second moose hunting in Columbia with her husband, Don, in 2000. That bull was 900 pounds.
Bailey said she comes from a long line of hunters and fishermen. It is how they survive.
“We have hunting and fishing so ingrained in us, I don’t know what I would do without it,” Bailey said. “That is all we’ve ever done. That’s all I know. We’ve always been able to hunt and fish for what we eat.”
Tonkin said anything the men do in their family, Bailey does.
“She’s ready to go clamming. She’s oystering. She’s out the first day of deer season,” Tonkin said.
Tonkin remembers a time when he was 11 and Bailey was about 16. The Union Leader came out to do a write-up on them. There was a picture taken of them together in their front yard with the two deer they had shot.
Tonkin said his salt-of-the-earth sister surprised him in the moment.
“I just remember her running inside and putting on makeup. She was at that age where she wanted to look good,” Tonkin said.
According to New Hampshire Fish and Game officials, a computer randomly selects permit holders from a pool of more than 5,800 applicants.
Each hunter is assigned to one of 22 Wildlife Management Units throughout the state. After taking a moose, hunters have to bring it to one of six check stations where biologists collect data about the overall health and productivity of the moose herd.
Fish and Game officials said moose check stations draw many curious spectators, which is a reminder of the importance of the moose hunt, especially in the North Country.
In 2018, New Hampshire hunters had a statewide success rate of 77%, according to officials.
The moose hunt will run this year from Oct. 19 to 27.