PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine hunters might be allowed to harvest more of its iconic land mammal this year because of strong survival rates.

The news is a rare bright spot about the health of moose, which have struggled with parasites throughout the northern U.S.

A major threat facing moose is the winter tick, which especially harms moose calves. State moose biologist Lee Kantar says moose calves appear to be experiencing fewer ticks.

Maine has trimmed the number of moose hunting permits in recent years, but might increase it.

State regulators in Maine and elsewhere, are concerned about the toll of pests and disease on the herd, and have trimmed the number of hunting permits in recent years. Vermont is recommending the lowest number of permits with 14. Minnesota suspended its moose hunt completely, with some exceptions.