Libby Gardner (left) and her father, Larry Gardner, both of Fort Fairfield, look out over a small cut while the sun rises on the opening day of moose hunting season in the North Woods. Credit: John Holyoke

If you’re among those who’d love to go on a Maine moose hunt this fall, but who have still not applied for the annual permit lottery, you’d better get cracking: The deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

To enter, you can click here and select the season you’d be willing to hunt, the areas where you’d accept a permit, and other specifics.

In March, state wildlife biologists proposed a slight increase in the number of moose permits for the 2019 seasons. If approved, the number of permitted hunters would jump from 2,500 to 2,820.

Lottery entrants must be eligible to obtain a Maine big-game hunting license by the opening day of moose-hunting season, according to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

[Wildlife biologists say Maine may need to shrink its moose herd to keep it healthy]

While there is no minimum hunting age for most Maine species, there is for moose. A person who is younger than 10 on the opening day of moose season cannot receive a permit, nor be named as a subpermittee on another hunter’s hunt. They may apply for the lottery in order to accrue “bonus points.”

Hunters who have been awarded a moose permit must wait three years in order to win another permit. Those hunters are allowed to apply for the lottery in order to earn bonus points.

Bonus points are awarded to entrants for each consecutive year they are unsuccessful in the lottery. They are essentially additional “chances” in the lottery. For the first five consecutive years, those hunters earn one point per year. Years six through 10 are worth two points per year. Years 11 through 15 are worth three points per year, and hunters earn 10 points per year 16 and up.

Prior to 2011, hunters who skipped a single year of entering the lottery lost all of their accrued bonus points. Since then, however, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife allows hunters to miss a single year without penalty; if a hunter doesn’t apply for two consecutive years, the bonus points vanish.

Maine’s modern moose hunt was first staged in 1980 on an experimental basis, with 36,636 prospective hunters entering to receive one of 700 available permits. After a one-year hiatus, the hunt was resumed in 1982 and has been held annually since.

[Maine now holds the world record for simultaneous moose-calling]

The 2019 hunt will be split into sessions, with a predetermined number of permits in play over a given number of Wildlife Management Districts. The seasons:

— Sept. 23-29 in WMDs 1-6, 10, 11, 18, 19, 27 and 28

— Oct. 14-19 in WMDs 1-14, 17 through 19, 27, and 28

— Oct. 28-Nov. 2 in WMDs 1-6

— Nov. 2 for permit-holding Maine residents only in WMDs 15, 16

— Nov. 4-Nov. 30 in WMDs 15, 16.

No hunting is allowed Sundays.

And who knows? You might end up hearing your own name drawn at Cabela’s in Scarborough on June 8, just like these folks did in Skowhegan a year ago. You might end up with the hunt of a lifetime like these Aroostook County hunters did last fall.

Related: Moose battle highlights man’s trip through the Maine outdoors

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...