Moose hunters get their chance at a trophy starting on Monday, September 25. 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 9 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."
This past year, 65,181 people applied for the chance to hunt moose in Maine. 18,268 applied from out of state. This year there will be 740 antlerless permits issued and 2,085 antlered moose permits issued for a total of 2,825.
There are 1,120 permits for the season in the far northern and eastern areas (wildlife management districts 1 - 6, 11 & 19) September 25th through September 30 and October 9th through 14th.. An additional 1,705 permits were issued for moose hunting (wildlife management districts 1-14,17, 18, 19, 27 & 28) October 9th through 14th.
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.
Moose hunters should be aware of road construction on two major logging roads in popular moose hunting areas. Construction is planned on the American Realty Road in WMDs 1 and 4 where it crosses the Allagash Wilderness Waterway at the Umsaskis-Long Lake Thoroughfare. Also, during the first week of the season, part of the Stud Mill Road in District 19 will be shut down.