MAINE - For the first time since 1990, moose hunters will be stalking moose in September, as the first week of the two week Moose season begins Monday, September 24 in northern and eastern parts of Maine. The second week of the split season commences October 8.
"September is a fantastic time to hunt moose in Maine. Moose are in peak physical shape, they respond to traditional hunting tactics such as calling, and the weather in September coupled with the autumn scenery is something all in Maine look forward to," said Fred Hurley, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This year, there were 85,275 people who applied to hunt moose in Maine. 63,266 of these applicants were residents, and 22,009 were non-residents.
Karen Morris, the Department's leading biologist on moose, says that moose are in prime physical shape this time of year, just as they begin their mating season or "rut". Bull moose typically lose between 10-20% of their body weight during the rut. Foliage has started to turn, but is still dense in all of the state. While hunters may not be able to see as far into the woods, that disadvantage will be more than outweighed by a moose's willingness to follow a moose call.
There will be a decrease in the number of hunters pursuing moose in any given area. While the number of permits is the same as last year (3000), hunters are now spread out over a two week season instead of just one week, and hunters are assigned into more wildlife management districts, further diminishing crowding. 735 hunters have permits for this first week.
This new framework keeps the same season length in areas such as Greenville, increases hunting season length Downeast where huntable acreage is expanding, and stabilize the moose herd in areas where there is a high frequency of moose vehicle accidents such as in the Route 11 and 201 corridors. It also spreads hunters out more and reduces potential conflicts with other moose, bear and grouse hunters, anglers, and tourists. It allows the department to better manage the number of hunters in the woods at one time, reducing crowding and increasing the quality and safety of the hunt.
The new rules were accepted following considerable public input in 1999 and 2000. Over that time, the department convened a public working group comprised of 24 individuals that met many times over the period of several months. This group devised an initial recommendation for the public. This recommendation was unanimously endorsed by the Legislative Fish and Wildlife Committee and then discussed at nine public information meetings throughout the state. Public input from these meetings resulted in revisions that were incorporated into the rule. The rule was also reviewed at four public hearings and by a public comment period before being adopted.
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