The ultimate lottery

Since the debut of the Maine moose lottery more than 50 years ago, Lady Luck of Lotteries smiled on me one time. And during that once-in-a-lifetime hunt from a canoe along Ross Stream at opening day, a young bull stepped from the alders into an opening and my moose hunt was over — or, almost over. My guide, John Richards, and I quartered the big animal and transported it back to camp in two canoes. A lot of work it was, but a lifetime memory that lingers long after that frosty October morning along a color-laden, dawn-dappled backwater of Aroostook County.

The best part of a moose hunt, if you ask me, is what happens in the frying pan long after the hunt is over. Properly handled in the field and vacuum sealed for freezer storage, there is no table fare to match mooseburgers or pan-fried moose back straps. The late Brownville outdoorsman Dave Bowley, who ate his share of wild meat, tried to convince me over the years that a juicy Black Angus steak would best moose back strap any day of the week. Not for my taste buds.

Others must share my sentiments, which may explain the incredible popularity of the annual state moose lottery.

By the way, mark your calendar. The moose lottery application process for the upcoming fall moose hunt is officially open. Online applications only.

Here are the application ground rules from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

“To apply online, go to and fill out the online moose permit application. There, you will be able to indicate several preferences, including which wildlife management districts (WMD) you are willing to accept a permit in, and if you would accept a permit in another WMD if your name is drawn and all of your top choices are filled. You will also be able to select your preferred hunting season, whether or not you would accept an antlerless permit, and your choice of a sub-permittee.

The deadline to apply for the lottery is 11:59 p.m. on May 14, 2020.

Applicants are awarded bonus points for each consecutive year that they have applied for the lottery since 1998 without being selected and each bonus point gives the applicant an additional chance in the drawing. Bonus points are earned at the rate of one per year for years one to five, two per year for years 6 to 10, three per year for years 11 to 15 and 10 per year for years 16 and beyond. Since 2011, applicants can skip a year and not lose their bonus points. So if you applied in 2018 but not in 2019, you will still have your points available if you apply in 2020.

Want to be there for the drawing? The 2020 moose lottery permit drawing will take place at Unity College Sky Lodge in Jackman, Maine, on June 13, 2020.

For more information about moose hunting in Maine and the moose permit lottery, you should check out the website listed above for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.”

Once again make a mental note of the application deadline, May 14. Lots of folks are focused more on fishing than hunting in May and have been known to let the moose application deadline slip on by and realize it after it’s too late.

V. Paul Reynolds

Columnist at Ellsworth American
The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. His email address is [email protected]

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