The wait is nearly over.
On Saturday afternoon, 2,820 lucky moose hunters will learn that they have received a permit and will embark upon the hunt of a lifetime this year. For thousands of others, the news won’t be so good.
That’s just the way the annual Moose Permit Lottery and Festival works. This year’s event will take place at Cabela’s in Scarborough. The actual drawing begins at 2 p.m., and results will be available at bangordailynews.com at 6 p.m. A variety of other activities and seminars are planned for attendees who arrive early.
Maine began its modern moose hunt in 1980, when 700 permits were awarded for an experimental hunt. After a one-year hiatus, the hunt returned in 1982 and has been held annually ever since.
Typically the lottery to award those permits — 90 percent of which go to Maine residents — draws a large crowd of interested prospective hunters.
“It’s an exciting time, and people are always hopeful that they’ll be selected and excited for those who do get selected,” said Mark Latti, communications director for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “Even though we’ve got almost 60,000 people applying and we’re pulling less than 3,000 names, we always seem to get a dozen to 20 people who [are there and] get selected. And they’re all treated very well. They get a huge round of applause, and everybody’s happy for them.”
Back in 1980, and for several years after that, the names of prospective hunters were on cards that were pulled by hand from a rotating chicken-wire hopper. Nowadays, computers handle the selection process, and applicants can choose which hunting districts they would accept a permit in and what season they would like to hunt.