OK, so you’re one of the lucky hunters who was drawn for a Maine moose permit on Saturday.
Now you need to know what you can and can’t do with it. There are significant limitations with a few options.
Once chosen in the lottery, a permit holder must pay $52 (Maine residents) or $585 (nonresidents) in order to hunt. That’s in addition to the fee for entering the lottery.
Under state rules, a moose permit may be swapped with another hunter. In rare cases, it may be transferred to a family member. There also is a provision for deferring to the following year because of serious physical illness or military service.
The permit holder is one of only two people allowed to carry a firearm and actually hunt, shoot and kill a moose. The other is the sub-permittee, the person the applicant selects to hunt with them.
However, the sub-permittee is not allowed to hunt unless the permit holder is present.
The permit holder may also authorize their selected alternate sub-permittee to participate in the hunt in place of the original sub-permittee. The hunter must notify the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife of such a change, in writing, no later than five business days before the hunt begins.
It is illegal for a hunter to sell the slot for a sub-permittee. That is a Class E crime. But it is permissible for a hunter to swap permits with another permit holder.
Such a trade might be desirable for those who wish to hunt during a different week, in a Wildlife Management District other than the one for which they were selected, or for a different gender of moose.
Rules allow a hunter to make one swap, but both permits in that situation must be paid for, as mentioned above, prior to the transaction.
It is the responsibility of the permit holder to find and contact the person with whom they wish to swap. The two people may agree to compensation for the transaction, but no third party is allowed to receive money or anything of value related to the exchange of permits.
A signed swap letter or completed moose swap application, along with a $7 fee payable to the state of Maine, makes it official.
So what happens if you encounter an unexpected situation that would prevent you from hunting during the week or year for which you have been selected?
The DIF&W commissioner may grant a deferral, usually for a period of one year, to a permit holder if they or a member of their immediate family is suffering from a significant physical illness that would prevent them from hunting.
Under extenuating circumstances, the commissioner may allow a person to transfer a permit to a family member who meets the state’s requirements. That includes cases where the permit holder dies prior to or during the hunting season, providing that a moose has not already been harvested.
Eligible family members include the transferring person’s spouse, child, stepchild, grandchild, parent, grandparent, stepparent, sibling, half-sibling or adopted child.
DIF&W spokesperson Mark Latti said dozens of deferrals are granted each year, on a case-by-case basis, by the commissioner.
If someone who wins a moose permit is called to active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces to serve in an armed conflict and cannot use the permit, they are entitled to use the permit during the next appropriate season upon their return. Armed conflict means any military action in which participants are exposed to war risk hazards.
So there are some options for moose hunters who wish to swap permits, or those who need to transfer or defer their permits because of unavoidable health or life circumstances.
Permit winners who are potentially looking to make a swap can check out mooseswap.com, a service of the Maine Professional Guides Association, and guide Steve Beckwith’s moosepermitswap.com. Both are private entities that charge a fee to help connect hunters.
A wealth of information pertaining to the 2022 Maine moose hunt can be found on the DIF&W website.