Maine Moose Hunting Permit Overview and Regulations
Permit Allocation and Application
The state of Maine issues a limited number of moose hunting permits, with 4,105 allocated for the 2023 season. To hunt moose in Maine, obtaining a permit is mandatory. Each primary permit holder, referred to as a permittee, is authorized to designate a subpermittee to accompany them during the hunt. Applications for permits are made available by January 31 of each year. It is essential to note that those holding an apprentice hunter license are ineligible to partake in moose hunting.
Eligibility Criteria for Applicants
Individuals who are 10 years of age or older by the commencement of the moose hunting season are eligible to apply for a permit for that year's moose hunt. Children under 10 at the start of the season are permitted to apply to accrue points in the permit lottery system but cannot receive an actual permit.
Bag Limit and Antlerless Moose Definition
Hunters are restricted to a bag limit of one moose per year, which applies collectively to both the permittee and the subpermittee—only one moose may be taken between them. A recent legislative update has redefined 'antlerless moose' to mean any moose devoid of antlers, allowing the harvest of antlerless female moose or antlerless male calf moose under an Antlerless Moose Permit.
Special Considerations for Permit Transfers and Guaranteed Permits
Permittees have the option to donate their permit to a disabled veteran, or return it to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) for transfer to a disabled veteran through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The veteran receiving the permit must qualify under all eligibility and permit regulations. Both the donor and recipient in such a transfer face elimination of accumulated lottery points and a three-year prohibition from applying for a moose permit.
Residents aged 65 and older with 30 or more points in the moose lottery are assured a permit upon application, as a recognition of their participation in the system and commitment to hunting traditions.
Provisions for Hunting Lodges and Adaptive Unit Moose Hunt
Additionally, the Commissioner may reserve up to 2% of moose permits for a separate lottery specifically for hunting lodges that meet certain legal criteria. Selected lodges are charged $1,500 for a permit granted through this distinct lottery process.
The Adaptive Unit Moose Hunt, designed for precise wildlife management, imposes additional requirements on hunters. Those who draw a permit for an adaptive unit cow moose must take part in a mandatory briefing, which can be conducted either in person or virtually. Failure to attend results in forfeiture of the permit. During the hunt, moose must be registered, and biological data submitted at designated field check stations within the adaptive hunt zone.
This detailed guide to Maine's moose hunting regulations outlines the critical information and procedures for obtaining permits, the associated responsibilities, and the specific conditions under which various groups, including veterans and senior residents, can engage in the state's moose hunting season.
2023 Moose Hunting Seasons and Limits by District in Maine
Season Dates for Wildlife Management District 4A (Adaptive Unit)
Hunting in the Adaptive Unit, specifically Wildlife Management District 4A, spans multiple weeks with strict limitations:
- October 16 - 21, 2023
- October 23 - 28, 2023
- October 30 - November 4, 2023
- November 6 - 11, 2023*
During these dates in District 4A, hunters with a valid permit can take one moose for the annual season.
General Moose Hunting Seasons Across Other Districts
For other Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs), the following dates are key moose hunting periods:
- September 25 - 30, 2023, for WMDs 1-6, 10, 11, 18, 19, 27, 28
- October 9 - 14, 2023, applicable to WMDs 1–15, 17–19, 27, 28
- October 23 - 28, 2023, for WMDs 1-6, 8
All dates are inclusive, yet it's crucial to note that Sunday hunting is not permitted.
Special Provision for Adaptive Unit Hunters
*Adaptive Unit/WMD 4A hunters who are unsuccessful in harvesting a moose during their initial scheduled week have a second chance during the week of November 6 - 11, 2023, pending the terms of their issued permit.
Bag and Possession Limits
The bag and possession limits maintain that only one moose may be harvested annually per permit across all districts. It is essential for permit holders to comprehend the restrictions and conditions that apply to their specific permit.
To ensure legal hunting practices, hunters should review the "Laws Pertaining to Hunting Equipment," which includes guidelines on the use of crossbows during the moose hunting season.
The structured moose hunt seasons across various districts ensure a managed and sustainable approach to moose hunting in Maine. Permit holders should plan accordingly, taking note of hunting dates, district-specific allowances, and the overall goal of conservative wildlife management.