Moose auctions bring big bucks to Maine

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A twenty-year-old law in Maine, in which the state conservation agency throws 10 highly sought after moose permits into the hat for youth charity, brought in more than $122,000 last month when the winning bids were opened.

The 2015 Maine Moose Permit Auction, put on by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, puts a number of permits up for public consumption. While any resident or non-resident can apply for the state's complicated moose lottery, those who would rather go for a sure thing can send in a sealed bid in writing and aim for a better chance-- providing they are ready to go five figures.

The winners this year ranged from two New Hampshire residents, Howard Ludington and Dustin Laconia, who went all in for an even $13,000 each; down to the number ten spot, picked up by New Yorker Carl Baker for $11,611. If you notice a pattern, nine out of ten winners are non-resident hunters seeking the big Maine moose trophy, some from as far away as Kentucky.

However, its not just about a rack on the wall, as each bidder (the standard fee to submit is $25 in addition to the bid amount should you be one of the ten highest), chips in to fund youth sporting activities.

“While the auction winners have the opportunity to partake in the hunt of a lifetime, their winning bids also ensure Maine children have the chance to learn outdoor skills that will give them a lifetime of appreciation of the Maine outdoors,” said Chandler Woodcock, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife commissioner.

The funds this year will go to provide 600 Maine youngsters with a chance to attend the University of Maine's 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond and to the Greenland Point Center in Princeton. The centers provide experiences and supervised training in archery, shooting sports, outdoor camping, primitive skills, and woodcraft. In essance, each moose tag up for bid sends a busload of kids to camp.

The program was established in 1995 and allows the winning bidders to select a hunting district, hunting week, and permit type and even select an alternate hunter to take their place which allows the possibility of gifting winning bids to family members. Further, under the rules of the moose lottery, those who win a bid can still apply for the lottery the next year without having to wait the traditional three-year period mandated for lotto winners.

To obtain your 2016 bidding packet, contact the DIFW through their online server.

Image by Nicole Prescott, Maine DIFW