Saturday’s forecast of blizzard conditions across much of Maine likely means you’ll be spending some time indoors.
What better time to apply for the state’s annual moose hunt permit lottery?
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now accepting online applications for the moose hunt, which provides hunters with the chance to pursue the state’s largest big-game animal.
Getting in early won’t improve your chances of being selected, but it will allow you to check “moose hunt permit application” off your 2022 to-do list.
Applications must be submitted online on the DIF&W website here and must be completed by May 12 at 11:59 p.m. The cost is $15 for Maine residents, who may submit one entry for a permit, or a bonus point.
Nonresidents may put in for as many chances as they wish as follows: $15 for one entry, $25 for three, $35 for six, $55 for 10 and $55 each for additional blocks of 10 chances.
Maine residents are awarded 90 percent of permits, nonresidents receive 8 percent and no more than 2 percent are allocated to hunting lodges.
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The number of available permits for 2022 will not be finalized until the spring, according to department spokesperson Mark Latti.
“After looking at winter severity, harvest data, reproductive data from ovaries collected, collared moose survival, and some other items, staff will draft a recommendation for a certain number of permits,” Latti said, “and that will go through the public rule-making process, including our advisory council. We usually get the final numbers approved right before the lottery.”
The results of this year’s lottery will be announced on June 11 and a complete list of winners will be available online by 6 p.m. that day. The format for the drawing has not yet been finalized.
After many years of live, in-person events, the last two drawings have been held virtually because of concerns about COVID-19.
Last year 4,030 permits were issued to hunters, including 550 for the special experimental adaptive unit hunt for cows only in Wildlife Management District 4A.
Unseasonably warm weather during the second bulls-only week in early October was a key factor in suppressing harvest numbers, according to the wildlife department.
Only 68 percent of hunters — 2,353 of 3,520 — harvested a moose as part of the traditional statewide hunt last year. That was the third-lowest success rate in 41 years and came on the heels of a 2020 season during which hunters tagged moose at a 76 percent success rate (2,382 of 3,135).
In 2021, 72,039 people applied for the opportunity to get a permit, the largest number since 2004. The record for applications was 94,532, set in 1994, when only 1,200 permits were up for grabs.
The 2022 season dates are as follows:
— Sept. 26-Oct. 1 (bulls only): WMDs 1-6, 10-11, 18-19, 27-28
— Oct. 10-15 (bulls only): WMDs 1-14, 17-19, 27-28
— Oct. 24-29* (antlerless only): WMDs 1-6, 8
— Oct. 31-Nov. 26 (any moose): WMDs 15-16
Adaptive unit hunt
(Cows only, WMD 4A)
— Oct 17-22
— Oct. 24-29
— Oct. 31-Nov. 5
*—Oct. 29 hunt is for Maine residents only
For more information on the 2022 Maine moose hunt, visit the DIF&W website.