The good news for prospective Maine moose hunters is there will be even more permits available for the 2021 hunt.
The not-so-good news? Even though the first week of the 2021 moose hunting season is more than four months away, the door is quickly closing on the opportunity to be eligible for a permit.
Thursday is the application deadline for prospective hunters to submit an application for the state’s annual hunt. Applications must be completed by 11:59 p.m.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council voted unanimously last week to increase the number of moose hunting permits for 2021 by 11 percent (345 permits). That means a total of 3,480 permits will be up for grabs in 2021.
The DIF&W increased the number of moose permits in WMDs 1-3, 5, 6, and 8 as part of the 2017 Big Game Management Plan which, for moose, means managing the population for health, according to State Moose Biologist Lee Kantar.
The state is providing more permits and an additional three weeks of moose hunting in subunit 4a of WMD 4. The Adaptive Hunt starting in October provides for increased antlerless permits to reduce moose densities to find out whether lowering the population can lessen the impact of winter ticks and help increase calf survival during the winter, among other goals.
There also will be 50 antlerless moose permits distributed for an extra week, Oct. 25-30, in WMD 8, located to the west and southwest of Moosehead Lake. That area has been described as “ground zero” for ticks impacting moose.
Chances of being drawn for a moose permit are based on multiple factors, including how many years a hunter has applied without obtaining a permit, how many Wildlife Management Districts are selected, which seasons are chosen and whether a hunter agrees to accept a bull permit, an antlerless tag, or both. The state uses a points system to reward applicants who have been entering the lottery the longest with a better chance of being selected.
Last year, the state issued 3,135 permits for the moose hunt after receiving more than 65,000 applications from prospective hunters, including 45,096 Maine residents.
Hunters should take into consideration that the moose permit application process takes some forethought and time to complete. Considerations include the different weeks of the season, whether to pursue bulls and/or antlerless moose, and choosing the Wildlife Management Districts where they would prefer to hunt.
Maine’s moose hunting weeks for 2021 are: Sept. 27-Oct. 2 (WMDs 1-6, 10-11, 18-19, 27-28), Oct. 11-16 (WMDs 1-14, 17-19, 27-28), Oct. 25- 30 (WMDs 1-6), Oct. 30 (Maine residents only, WMDs 15-16) and Nov. 1-27 (WMDs 15-16).
Hunters must apply online using the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website at mooselottery.web.maine.gov/online/moose/.
The cost for a moose permit is $15 for Maine residents, who are limited to one chance in the lottery. Non-resident hunters may apply for as many chances as they wish. Last year, 250 nonresident permits were issued.
Once you have entered the lottery, circle Saturday, June 12 on your calendar. That’s the date the Maine DIF&W will conduct the moose permit drawing. The event, which will be held virtually again this year, runs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
You can watch the lottery live on YouTube to see if you’re among the lucky winners.