The preliminary numbers are in from this fall's moose hunt, and this year, 2,075 hunters were successful in their quest for a moose. The department issued 2,593 permits, and the preliminary success rate for hunters in 2003 is 80%.
Last year, 2,374 out of 2,964 hunters were successful in getting their moose, for a success rate of 80% in 2002.
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is currently proposing a rule that would increase the number of moose permits available to hunters for the 2004 hunting season. The proposal would increase the number of permits issued by 550 permits in Wildlife Management Districts 3, 6, and 11 in Eastern Aroostook County.
In 2003, 900 permits were issued in those three WMDs that stretch from Route 11 east to the Canadian border; the proposal calls for 1,450 permits in those WMDs for the 2004 hunting season, an increase of 161%. Moose permits would increase from 230 to 400 in WMD 11, 310 to 445 in WMD 3 and from 360 to 605 in WMD 6. In these WMDs, the population management objective is to reduce the moose population by one-third in order to balance recreation with safety concerns. These objectives were designed with considerable public input gathered throughout the state.
This year, 2,585 moose hunting permits were issued statewide. Under this proposal, the department would increase that to 3,135 permits. 3,000 permits were issued from 1999 - 2002. The 3,135 permits would be the most issued since the modern moose hunt resumed in 1980.
There will be a public hearing concerning the proposal on Thursday, November 6, 2003 at 6:30 at the Presque Isle Fish and Game Club on Parson's Road in Presque Isle. Those unable to attend the hearing can be heard by emailing their comments before November 17 to Andrea.Erskine@maine.gov  or by writing to Andrea Erskine, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 41 State House Station, Augusta, ME, 04333.