Moose hunters get their chance at a trophy starting on Monday, September 27. 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 11in the northern two-thirds of the state.
This year, 2,895 moose hunting permits were issued. 929 permits were issued for the September hunt, and the other 1,966 permits are for October. There were 73,713 people who applied to hunt moose in Maine. 53,101 of these applicants were residents, and 20,612 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 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. This year the department increased the number of moose permits available in the northeastern section of Maine to address a concern among area residents of increased moose vehicle accidents in the area. 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 permit changes were based on several factors including major changes in habitat, mortality due to lungworm and winter ticks, sightings by hunters while hunting, and moose population objectives.
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.
While permit numbers are increasing in northeastern Maine, permit numbers will stay the same in Oxford, southern Franklin, southern Penobscot and Washington counties. The number of moose permits are the same as last year in western Aroostook county as well as Piscataquis, northern Penobscot, northern Franklin and northern Somerset counties to allow the moose population to increase.