Moose hunters registered a handful of bulls weighing more than 1,000 pounds in September, according to logs at two of Aroostook’s three major tagging stations that weigh the animals.
Gateway Trading Post in Ashland registered a bull at 1,024 pounds, while Up North Outdoors in Fort Kent had at least one animal weigh in at more than 1,000 pounds, although the actual numbers were not available Monday.
There were at least four more trophy moose that tipped the scales beyond 1,000 pounds posted on a moose hunters’ Facebook page. The third station at Allagash Guide Service could not be reached for data.
Maine’s moose hunt attracts thousands of people from around the country into its annual lottery to try for the right to shoot one of the state’s iconic animals. This year, the state issued 4,106 permits.
“We have had beautiful mornings for moose hunting. There’s an association between crisp, cold mornings and moose hunting,” Lee Kantar, the state’s moose biologist, said on Monday.
Because more people use the North Maine Woods for various types of recreation and hunting, there is more pressure on the animals and hunters have to do their homework to discover where they are, he said.
Early figures show that a total of 775 moose were taken during the weeklong hunt, Sept. 25-30, Kantar said. Tagging stations enter information into the state’s electronic registration system, which tallies preliminary numbers on how many moose were killed, he said. Not all tagging stations weigh the animals.
Bull moose average 715 pounds dressed out, according to the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife information page for hunters. But Brenda White at Gateway Trading Post said her tagging station registered several moose that were 800 pounds or more and had antler spreads from 40 to more than 50 inches wide.
Gateway registered 216 moose in September. White said that was much better than 2022, when the store registered 187. It tagged 211 in 2021.
The state’s preliminary September figure of 775 represents a 74 percent success rate so far in the moose hunting season, Kantar said. There was a 70 percent success rate in September alone last year. Maine’s moose hunts in 2021 and 2022 ended with success rates of 68 and 62 percent, respectively.