|Remember when hunting was as simple as going out the door and hiking around in the woods behind the house? That was definitely much easier than the process we now go through just to apply for the chance to hunt in Maine. Take the moose lottery, for example. Back in the 1980s, hunters filled out a small card, sent it (and $5) in to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and, while Bud Leavitt kibitzed in the background, a troop of boy scouts would fish out the approved number of permits from a rolling barrel containing the application cards. Great fun, no big deal. You either got a permit or you didn't.
Well, enough people complained, got involved or otherwise demanded fair play, and now the "new millennium" process is somewhat more involved. Such as:
Participants in the annual moose lottery now have the opportunity of increasing their odds of being selected for a moose hunting permit by purchasing additional chances. The so-called "multiple choice option" allows Maine residents to choose $8 for one chance, $13 for three chances or $23 for six chances. Maine resident must possess a valid big game hunting license to apply for 3 or 6 chances. Non- residents spend $13 for one chance, $23 for three chances, $33 for six chances or $53 for 10 chances. Non-residents may purchase additional multiples of 10 chances at $53 each. For example, five multiples of 10 chances would cost $265 (5 x $53 = $265). Who knew that math would figure so heavily in applying for a Maine moose permit?
Anyone receiving a Maine moose-hunting permit must wait two years before being eligible to hold another one. If you received a permit in 2003 or 2004, you may NOT apply in 2005. This requirement affects permit holders only. It does not affect hunters who were a sub-permittee, nor does it prohibit a previous permit holder from being a sub-permittee during the two-year waiting period.
You are eligible to apply for the Maine moose lottery if you did not obtain a permit in 2003 or 2004 by lottery drawing; you are eligible to obtain a Maine big game hunting license or will be eligible to obtain a Maine big game hunting license by the opening day of the moose hunting season.
A Junior Hunting License may be pre-issued before the holder is 10 years old, but the license and permit cannot be used until the youngster is 10 years old. For example, Junior hunters are eligible to apply if they are at least 10 years old by the last day of the season for which they apply. If the Junior hunter wishes to apply for the October season, which runs from Oct. 10 through Oct. 15, 2005, they must be 10 years old by at least by Oct. 15th.
All applicants 16 years of age and older must comply with Maine's hunter safety law before a big game hunting license can be issued.
To add to the fun, we have Sub-permittee and Alternate Sub-permittee categories! At the time of application, each applicant may select one person as a sub-permittee to participate in the moose hunt. An alternate sub-permittee may also be designated at the time of application. By law, no one other than these two people may be designated as the sub-permittee. The permittee may authorize the alternate sub-permittee to participate in the hunt in place of the sub-permittee if the permittee notifies the Department in writing no later than Sept. 19, 2005, in which case the alternate sub-permittee becomes the sub-permittee. Only one moose may be taken per permit, and it may be shot by either the permit holder or sub-permittee. Other individuals may accompany the moose hunters, but only the permit holder or sub-permittee may hunt or kill the moose. The permittee must be present during the hunt or the sub-permittee cannot hunt. Sounds like "Who's On First" to me!
If you manage to get through all this, a public chance drawing will be held in mid-June. If the district you are assigned to has both a September and an October hunting season, you will be assigned to the September season (unless you check the box on your application indicating that you only want to hunt in October) until all permits are filled. Subsequently-drawn applicants will be assigned to the October season (unless you check the box indicating that you do not want to hunt in October). Drawings for residents and non-residents will be held separately. Individuals selected to receive a moose permit, but who decline the permit for which they applied, will lose their bonus points.
Each successful applicant in the permit drawing will be notified by mail shortly after the drawing. The successful applicant will then have a designated period in which to acquire the permit. It is very important that you provide a mailing address where you can be reached during this time. Applicants not selected in the drawing will not be notified. The names of the winners are posted on the MDIFW Website the day after the drawing.
Any moose permit winner may swap permits with any other moose permit winner. Moose permit winners who wish to swap their permit with another moose permit winner will need to do all their own work to identify and contact potential permit winners to swap with. A complete listing of all moose permit winners is available by calling (207) 621-2600, Ext. 38.
Of course, there is a $5 permit "swap fee," which must be received by the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife in Augusta no later than August 12th, 2005 in order to make the permit swap. Make checks payable to "Treasurer, State of Maine". Please do not send cash.
Five moose permits are allocated through the Maine Moose Permit Auction. All proceeds from this permit auction are used to support youth wildlife and conservation education in Maine. Winning bids for 2004 ranged from $8,735 to $11,300, so start saving your pennies!
The deadline to submit bids for the moose auction is March 25, 2005.
For more information, contact the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Moose Auction Bid Packet 284 State St., 41 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333-0041; or call (207) 287-8000.