Young bull moose near Greenville. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

If you’re like me, you might have an unfortunate tendency to put things off until the last minute.

Not only is that generally a bad practice, sometimes it can be costly.

In fact, one time a handful of years ago — despite my best friend and predecessor writing a story in the Bangor Daily News to remind us procrastinators about the deadline — I didn’t get mine in.

So, here’s an 11th-hour reminder that this year’s deadline to apply for a Maine moose hunting permit is upon us. To enter, visit the Moose Permit Lottery portal on the state website.

The deadline is 11:59 p.m. today — Monday, May 15, 2023.

If you have always dreamed about going on the hunt of a lifetime in pursuit of the state’s largest — and one of its most delicious — game animals, the time to act is now.

Maine’s moose population, estimated at between 60,000 and 70,000 beasts, is the largest in any of the lower 48 states. That’s among the reasons approximately 50,000 people apply each year for one of the 3,000 to 4,000 permits that are usually made available.

It’s a relatively simple process. You choose which seasons you would like to hunt and where you would prefer to do so. Then you determine whether you’re going after a bull or a cow, or either.

Once you have that figured out, simply select the season weeks and Wildlife Management Districts you want, pay the entry fee and hit “submit.”

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife provides a wealth of information about all things moose hunt on its website. Would-be hunters can learn about all things moose on those pages.

The state proposes to issue 4,105 total permits this year, including 2,645 for antlered (bull) moose and another 1,460 for antlerless moose. There are several weeks available for which hunters may apply.

This year’s season dates include:

Bulls only — Sept. 25-30: WMDs 1-6, 10-11, 18-19, 27-28; Oct. 9-14: WMDs 1-19, 27-28

Antlerless only — Oct. 23-28: WMDs 1-6, 8; Adaptive hunt, Oct. 16-21, Oct. 21-28, Oct. 30-Nov. 4 and Nov. 6-11: WMD 4A

Maine residents who have not held a moose hunting permit in the previous three years are limited to one entry for $15. Nonresident hunters may purchase three chances for $25, six chances for $35 and 10 entries for $55. Or, they may buy additional blocks of 10 chances for $55 apiece. Only a small portion of permits are allocated to nonresidents.

The odds are long for most applicants, but in general the longer someone who lives in Maine has been putting in for the lottery, the higher the likelihood they will be selected. The reality is, the choosier you are about the moose, the seasons and the zones, the harder it is to get a permit.

However, even if you can’t hunt later this year, you can add a bonus point to your total by submitting an application. The more points you accrue, the higher you’ll be in the pecking order next time around.

In 2022, the state received 69,551 applications and handed out 4,000 permits, which was an increase of 32 over the previous year. There were 45,302 Maine residents in the pool of which 3,692 were selected for a permit. That equals approximately one permit for every 12 applicants.

Among nonresidents, 24,249 applied a year ago and 308 of those hunters were chosen. That breaks down to approximately one permit for every 79 nonresident applicants (1.3 percent).

Speaking of moose hunting statistics, 2022 produced the lowest hunter success rate in the history of the Maine hunt. Only 62 percent of hunters (2,199 of 3,530) filled their permits.

The previous low of 65.3 percent occurred in 2014.

The big reveal will come on Saturday, June 10, when DIF&W hosts the annual reading of the permit winners’ names at Mill Park in Augusta.

That event begins at 10 a.m. with demonstrations, children’s activities, food, merchandise and music. The drawing gets underway at 2 p.m.

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...