AUGUSTA, Maine - Moose hunters get their chance at a trophy starting on Monday, September 26. The first week of the two-week moose hunting season begins Monday in northern and eastern parts of the state. The second week of the split season begins on Monday, October 10 in the northern two-thirds of the state.
"The moose hunt is a hunt of a lifetime for those lucky enough to get a permit," said R. Dan Martin, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, "and it is a vital tool for the department in managing the state's moose population."
There are 1,120 permits for the season in the far northern and eastern areas (wildlife management districts 1 - 5, 6, 11 & 19) September 26th through October 1 and October 10th through 15th.. An additional 1,775 permits were issued for moose hunting (wildlife management districts 1-14,17, 18, 19, 28 & 29) October 10th through 15th.
Karen Morris, the Department's moose biologist, 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 areas 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 come to a moose call.
Hunting is the department's primary management tool for wildlife populations. Permit holders are assigned to a wildlife management district in which to hunt moose. The number of moose permits and what type of permit that are assigned to each district is based upon moose population goals and objectives. Currently, the department is looking to decrease the number of moose in northeastern Aroostook County to address concerns of increased moose vehicle accidents in the area; increase the moose population in the Moosehead Lake area; and stabilize the population in other parts of the state. The department issues bull only and antlerless only moose permits to more closely regulate the moose harvest while trying to maximize hunting and viewing opportunities, as well as limit moose-vehicle accidents.
The moose population objectives were adopted by the department and Advisory Council after numerous meetings with the public and include increasing the moose population in areas of the state for more hunting and viewing opportunities, stabilizing or decreasing the populations in others, and protecting larger bulls.
This year there were 68,841 applicants who wanted to hunt moose in Maine. 49,267 of these applicants were residents, and the other 19,574 were non-residents. Residents are allowed to purchase one, three or six chances in the lottery, and nonresidents can purchase one, three or six chances, as well as unlimited blocks of ten. Last year, the odds for residents of being selected for a permit were 1 in 126 for each chance (a resident who purchased six chances would have a 1 in 21 chance). For nonresidents, the odds were 1 in 707 for each chance.
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