Maine’s annual moose hunt permit lottery drawing is scheduled for Saturday.
Have you ever wondered — maybe every year for a long time — what the chances are you’ll be drawn to hunt the state’s largest game animal?
It’s a complex formula, so we’ll get back to some of the details momentarily.
The 2022 moose permit lottery, for the first time since 2019, will be held in front of a live audience. The last two in-person events were not held because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The drawing starts at 2 p.m. Saturday as part of the first Jackman Region Moose Lottery Festival.
The activities will be held at the town office field, where a throng of hopeful hunters are expected to gather in the hope of hearing their name read.
The drawing, run by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, is the centerpiece of numerous offerings during the event. Local businesses will gather to provide live music, demonstrations, instruction, competitions, children’s activities, food vendors, crafts and local products.
This year, the names of 4,080 hunters will be selected by a computer and read aloud by DIF&W staff members and other guests. And unlike the last two drawings, which were broadcast live on YouTube, this year you’ll either have to be in the audience — or wait until the Bangor Daily News publishes the comprehensive list late Saturday afternoon — to find out if you’re in.
Hundreds of prospective moose hunters and other interested observers traditionally head to the lottery location to join the fun by listening intently, visiting with other moose hunters, and dreaming about how their own hunt will go, should they be lucky enough to win a permit.
So, what are the chances of winning a moose permit this year?
The answer is complicated, and it depends in part on how picky you were when you filled out your application. Hunters may opt to accept only specific zones, seasons or genders of moose. The number of consecutive years you have entered the lottery unsuccessfully is also a factor.
Applicants receive a “bonus point,” or extra chance in the lottery, for each of their first five unsuccessful years of entering. For years six through 10, they get two extra chances per year. Years 11 through 15 are worth three bonus chances, and those who’ve entered unsuccessfully for 16 years or more get 10 points per year for each year above 15.
According to DIF&W, in 2020 the overall odds for a single resident “chance” to be drawn, if they were willing to accept any season and any type of permit, were 1 in 72. The more chances you have in the drawing, the better your odds get, but not selecting certain zones or opting to hunt only a bull lengthens the odds.
By statute, only 10 percent of the permits each year go to nonresident hunters, so their odds are much worse — 1 in 1,388 for each chance two years ago.
Maine’s modern moose hunt began in 1980, when 700 permits were handed out for an experimental hunt. After a one-year hiatus to study the results of the harvest, it returned in 1982 and has been held annually ever since.
This year’s moose seasons include:
— Sept. 26-Oct. 1, with 1,050 bull permits allotted in 12 Wildlife Management Districts.
— Oct. 10-15, with 1,580 bull permits allotted in 19 WMDs.
— Oct. 17-22, with 200 antlerless-only permits in WMD 4A for the Adaptive Hunt
— Oct. 24-29, with 860 cow permits allotted in 6 WMDs, and 150 antlerless-only permits in WMD 4A for the Adaptive Hunt
— Oct. 31-Nov. 5, with 200 antlerless-only permits in WMD 4A for the Adaptive Hunt
— Oct. 31-Nov. 26 (including Oct. 29 for residents), with 40 any-moose permits allotted in 2 WMDs