Winning 2015 Maine moose lottery just got harder with the lowest permit numbers in seven years.
Despite being the smallest sub-species of moose in North America, the eastern moose in Maine is one of the most prized permits a hunter can draw. Permit numbers fluctuate based on studies done by wildlife biologists. In 2014 available permits numbered 3,095; for 2015 preliminary permit numbers a mere 2,815, the lowest number of permits in the last seven years. Only 10% of permits go to nonresident hunters. Bidding for a moose tag is also an option; 2014 Moose Auction bids ranged from the top bid of $12,500 to the low bid of $10,800.
The main reason for the decline in permits is the increasing numbers of moose deaths due to winter ticks. Winter ticks attack a moose at its most vulnerable time when food resources are low. In January of 2014, 60 moose near Moosehead Lake were collared for biologists studies. By spring half of the moose had died due to poor body condition and anemia.
Even those that draw the prized permit may not harvest a moose. In 2014 only 65% of permit holders were successful. Short seasons (most only six days long), thick forests and difficult terrain makes moose hunting a challenge. Since 90% of Maine is privately-owned property some hunters use guides but a moose hunt can also be a family affair with generations of hunters teaming up to harvest their highly sought-after moose.
You can apply online until 11:59 PM on May 14, 2015.
The 2015 moose permit lottery drawing will be held on Saturday June 13, 2015, in Bethel, Maine.