Chris Sargent poses alongside the bull moose he harvested in Zone 6 during the 2022 Maine moose hunt. The moose had a 47-inch, 17-point antler spread and was estimated to weigh between 800 and 850 pounds. Credit: Courtesy of Chris Sargent

In late January, even for some of the most avid hunters, moose season is about the furthest thing from our minds.

Even so, it’s not too early to get the ball rolling on the potential hunt of a lifetime in Maine.

That’s right, it’s time to submit your application for the annual Maine moose hunt permit lottery. The registration was recently opened by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Some of us will hold out for a while in an attempt to decide the right combination of potential Wildlife Management Districts and permit allocations that might put us in the woods come September or October.

Either way, if you have interest in eventually going on a moose hunt, you should apply for a permit or secure a bonus point toward a future lottery if you can’t hunt this year.

Last year, 69,551 people applied for a moose permit and 4,000 were distributed. That included 1,410 antlerless permits and 40 any-moose tags, while the remainder were bull-only tags.

Maine residents accounted for 3,692 permits among 45,302 applicants, while nonresidents were awarded 308 permits from a pool of 24,249 applicants.

There are expected to be a similar number of moose permits available for 2023, including 3,530 for the traditional statewide hunt and another 550 for the adaptive unit hunt in the western portion of Wildlife Management District 4.

However, the final numbers won’t be determined until the department considers winter severity, harvest data, reproductive data from ovaries collected, collared moose survival and other information.

The recommended number of permits must then go through the public rule-making process, including consideration by the DIF&W Advisory Council.

Applications must be submitted online on the DIF&W website and must be completed by 11:59 p.m. on May 15. The cost is $15 for Maine residents, who may submit one entry for a permit, or a bonus point.

Nonresidents may put in for as many chances as they wish: $15 for one entry, $25 for three, $35 for six, $55 for 10 and $55 each for additional blocks of 10 chances.

Maine residents are awarded 90 percent of permits, nonresidents receive 8 percent and no more than 2 percent are allocated to Maine hunting lodges.

Prospective moose hunters should do their homework before applying. It is helpful to determine which districts you’d be willing to accept a permit in, which weeks of the season you want to hunt, whether you would accept an antlerless permit, who your sub-permittee would be, and whether you would like to participate in the adaptive unit hunt.

Maine residents ages 65 and over — or who will turn 65 this year — and who also have accumulated at least 30 points in the lottery system, are guaranteed a permit.

The proposed dates for the 2023 season are: Sept. 25-30 and Oct. 9-14 for bulls only, Oct. 23-28 (antlerless only) and Oct. 28, Oct. 30-Nov. 25 (any moose). The tentative weeks for the adaptive unit hunt are Oct. 16-21, Oct. 23-28 and Oct. 30-Nov. 4.

The bottom line is, if you don’t apply, you won’t get a permit. And remember that the moose permit process is now completely online, so if you’re not computer savvy, find a friend who can help.

For more details about moose hunting in Maine, go to

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...