Tim Lander couldn’t understand why his text message notification tone kept going off.
He was sitting in his Eddington home on Saturday afternoon, following the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s YouTube broadcast of the annual moose permit lottery on his computer.
Lander was listening intently, fully expecting the 2021 lottery would end like all the others — with him not being among the lucky permit winners. He picked up his phone to find congratulatory texts and emails from brothers Billy and Chris, among others. His name had been drawn.
“I was listening and I never heard them call my name,” said Lander, who was perplexed by the development, even as the texts and emails continued to stream in.
Five minutes later, he heard it. Lander could come up with only one theory to explain how he was the last of his hunting family and friends to find out that he’ll be hunting moose in October.
“I’ve got the greatest internet down here that you could ever have,” Lander joked.
Lander is among 4,030 people whose names were revealed in Saturday’s drawing, which for the second straight year was held virtually by Maine DIF&W staff members at their offices in Augusta.
The DIF&W completed its reading of the names and hometowns of each winner in less than four hours, revealing the last name at 3:56 p.m.
For Lander, Saturday turned out to be a day he doubted would ever come.
“I can’t believe it. I figured I’d die before I ever got one,” he said, citing many years of failed attempts.
Lander, 64, admits that he hasn’t put in for every moose lottery since the state held its first hunt in 1980, but he figures he applied most years.
Actually, his luck started to change in 2019 when he was the subpermittee on the hunt with his older brother, Bill Lander of Dedham. It was the first time either of them had been drawn for a moose permit and Tim, who suffers from a debilitating back injury, knew it was a rare opportunity.
“I figured that that was the shot I had was with Billy,” Tim said. “I never expected I’d ever get one.”
In fact, it was Tim who fired the shot that downed the 590-pound bull harvested near Brassua Lake.
This time will be a little different. He figures it’s his turn to let Billy, who will be his subpermittee, have the honors.
“I’m going to have to let him shoot it because he let me shoot his,” Tim Lander said.
He is looking forward to the chance to spend time with his brothers and some friends on another hunting adventure.
“I’m pretty excited after this long,” Tim said. “Obviously, it’s cool. I can’t wait. It’ll be fun.”
DIF&W spokesperson Mark Latti said 72,039 people applied for the opportunity to get a permit, the largest number since 2004. The record for applications was 94,532, which was set in 1994, when only 1,200 permits were up for grabs.
Here are Maine’s moose hunting seasons, including dates and Wildlife Management Districts, for 2021:
— 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 resident permit holders only): WMDs 15-16
— Nov 1-27: WMDs 15-16