Photo provided by Lisa Gilbert
On this page:
- The Maine Moose Permitting Process
- How to Enter the Moose Lottery
- Eligibility Requirements
- Adaptive Unit Hunt
- Permit Allocations & Moose Lottery Odds
- How to Increase your Lottery Chances
- Moose Hunting Season Dates and Permit Allocations by Wildlife Management District (WMD)
- Maine Resident Application Fees
- Non-resident Application Fees
- Bonus Points
- How the Chance Drawing Works
- How the Maine Moose Permit Auction Works
- Moose Permit Rules and Restrictions
- How to Swap Moose Permits
- How the Controlled Moose Hunt for Disabled Veterans Works
The Maine Moose Permitting Process
To hunt for moose in Maine, you will need a permit; and due to high demand, these permits are administered in four ways only:
- Through three chance lottery drawings: resident, non-resident, and the adaptive management zone
- Through a competitive auction
- Through a controlled moose hunt for disabled veterans
- Through a hunting lodge moose lottery
Ninety percent of all permits in Maine's 21 eligible Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) are allocated to residents, no more than 8% to non-residents, and no more than 2% to hunting lodges.
How to Enter the Moose Lottery
MDIFW no longer accepts paper applications – you must apply online. If you do not have access to a computer or the Internet at home, we would suggest:
- Using a computer at your local library
- Using a computer at work during lunch or a break
- Asking a friend or relative with a computer for help in applying
The application period is January 25 - May 15, 2023 at 11:59 pm (ET).
On the online form, you'll be able to choose your:
Which districts you'd be willing to accept a permit in, and if you'd accept a permit in another district if your name is drawn and all of your top choices are filled. See permit allocations for more information.
If you only want to hunt in a specific month
Whether or not you would accept an antlerless permit
This is someone authorized to participate with you in your moose hunt. You can designate an alternate sub-permittee, and can apply with MDIFW to change either of these names up to 30 days before the hunting season begins.
Whether or not you would like to apply to participate in the adaptive unit hunt on the western side of zone 4. Learn more about special requirements for the adaptive unit.
Note for applicants Age 65+: A recent law change guarantees a moose permit to any Maine resident applicant who is 65 years of age or older or will turn 65 during the calendar year of the hunt, who also has at least 30 points in the lottery system. Be sure to submit your application prior to the deadline and indicate all the seasons and WMDs where you are interested in getting a permit.Upon submitting your form, you'll receive a confirmation number.
- Hunting License Required - Applicants must be eligible to obtain a Maine big game hunting license, either currently or by the opening day of the moose hunting season.
- Minimum Age is 10 - A person under 10 years of age on the opening day of the moose season is eligible to apply for a moose hunting permit and may accrue bonus points, but is neither eligible to receive a moose hunting permit, nor to be a sub-permittee or alternate.
- Hunter Safety - All applicants 16 years of age and older must comply with Maine's hunter safety law before a hunting license can be issued. See current safety courses.
Three-year waiting period – After winning a Maine moose hunting permit, you must wait three years to become eligible to win another one (so if you received a permit in 2020, 2021, or 2022, you are not eligible for 2023); however, you can still apply and earn a bonus point. This waiting period affects permit holders only; it does not affect sub-permittees, nor does it prohibit a hunter from being a sub-permittee during their three-year waiting period.
Adaptive Unit Hunt
To determine if moose density reduction can break or lessen winter tick impacts to moose in Maine, MDIFW is currently conducting a multi-phase adaptive management study. For the purpose of this study, which began in 2019 and is expected to run through at least 2025, a 2,000 square mile management zone in northwestern part of the state (Zone 4) has been divided into two similarly sized sections.
In phase one, aerial helicopter surveys assessed current population size and composition. Sixty moose calves (30 in each section of the unit) were captured and fitted with GPS collars to monitor their survival.
For phase two, MDIFW increased the number of hunting permits in the western half of zone 4 (6% of Maine's core moose range) in fall 2021 to reduce the moose population density. In the eastern half of zone 4 as well as all other zones open to moose hunting, moose permits will remain at normal levels. Biologists will collect several data points from all moose harvested in either subsection of Zone 4, including canine teeth (for aging), antler spreads, winter tick counts, corpora lutea, and carcass weights. In addition, biologists will continue aerial surveys and monitoring calves with GPS collars.
If we do indeed find that an increased harvest leads to lower winter tick levels and healthier moose, that information may allow for increased permit allocations in other areas of the state. Learn more about MDIFW’s Adaptive Management Study and how winter tick is impacting moose.
Adaptive Unit Permit Process:
Those interested in participating in the adaptive hunt will have the option to indicate so when completing the 2023 moose lottery application. When applying, hunters may not select a season date preference for the adaptive unit. Permit winners will be assigned to hunt in the south or north section of the adaptive unit. View a map of the Adaptive Unit (PDF) or view the boundary description (PDF).
The drawings for resident, nonresident, and adaptive management zone permits will be held separately. Therefore only if an applicant does not receive a traditional permit will they be put into the adaptive unit lottery. If an applicant receives an adaptive unit permit they will lose their bonus points.
Adaptive Unit Season Dates:
Note: At this time these are proposed season dates and permit numbers and are subject to change.
October 1st Week: 200 Cow permits (10/16/2023-10/21/2023)
October 2nd Week: 150 Cow permits (10/23/2023-10/28/2023)
November 3rd Week: 200 Cow permits (10/30/2023-11/4/2023)
- All adaptive unit cow hunters will be required to attend an in-person or virtual one-hour moose pre-hunt briefing and will be provided with adaptive hunt program details, expectations, maps, ovary removal instruction, and bull/cow/calf differentiation and identification, in addition to proper care of meat.
- The adaptive unit is entirely within the North Maine Woods and hunters will be required to cover their own day use/overnight fees.
- Hunters will be required to stop, register moose, and provide biological data at designated field check stations within the adaptive hunt area at key entry/egress points.
Hunters that fail to collect and bring canine teeth and ovaries out of the field will be asked to return to kill site and retrieve them.
Learn more about the adaptive unit hunt.
Permit Allocations & Moose Lottery Odds
How We Determine the Number of Permits to Issue
The number of permits we issue in each WMD varies year to year by the WMD's management goals, which are developed through public input. More total permits may be issued if some were deferred the previous year due to permittee illness, armed service status, or similar situations. Curious what your chances are of winning a permit? Here's how the numbers broke down in 2022:
Total Applications Received: 69,551
Total Permits Issued: 4,000
Change in total permits from previous year: +32
Antlerless Permits: 1,410
Any-Moose Permits: 40
Non-Resident Applicants: 24,249
Non-Resident Permits Issued: 308
Non-Resident Selection Rate: 1.3% (~1 permit for every 79 applicants)
Resident Applicants: 45,302
Resident Permits Issued: 3,692
Resident Selection Rate: 8.1% (~1 permit for every 12 applicants)
How to Increase your Lottery Chances
There are three ways to maximize your chance of winning a permit in the lottery:
- Choose districts with higher moose populations, and therefore, higher permit allocations (see chart below).
- Keep applying every year to accumulate bonus points
- Purchase more chances (non-residents only)
Moose Hunting Season Dates and Permit Allocations by Wildlife Management District (WMD)
Note: At this time these are proposed season dates and permit numbers and are subject to change.
|WMD||Total Permits||Permits by Season|
*10/28/2023 hunt is for Maine residents only.
**Hunters drawn for WMD 27 or 28 may hunt in either district.
***This does not include permit numbers for the adaptive unit hunt. Please see below for tentative adaptive unit season dates and permit numbers.
|WMD||Total Permits||Adaptive Unit Permits by Season|
Why we separate antlerless and bull permits and seasons: Antlerless moose (aka cows) have more bearing on population; so MDIFW issues antlerless-only permits with population growth, decline, or stabilization in mind. WMDs that can only sustain limited cow mortality are allocated fewer antlerless permits, while those with population sizes and structures that can support higher cow harvest while still meeting management objectives are allocated more.
Southern Maine exception - The Southern Maine moose hunt is a slight variation on this because of the area's low overall moose density. In this case, all permits are for any moose; and per landowners' recommendations, the season now runs concurrently with the November firearm deer season to increase hunters' chances of success.
Maine Resident Application Fees
One chance: $15 (or bonus point only)
Non-resident Application Fees
One chance: $15 (or bonus point only)
Three chances: $25
Six chances: $35
10 chances: $55
>10 chances: Available in multiples of 10 (For example, for 50 chances you’d purchase 5 blocks of 10 chances for a total of $275)
When more than one chance is purchased it will increase your point for the current season only. Additional points that are purchased do not roll over from year to year.
Hunters who apply multiple years in a row without winning a permit can earn bonus points (extra chances in the drawing). Points are non-transferrable and are accumulated as follows:
0-5 years: 1 point/yr.
6-10 years: 2 points/yr.
11-15 years: 3 points/yr.
16+ years: 10 points/yr.
Bonus points are tracked by MDIFW using your name and date of birth. To receive bonus points, be sure to enter your correct name and date of birth on your application. The online application will search our database for your record, and will display the number of bonus points you have.
You will forfeit your points if you:
- Fail to apply or purchase bonus points in any two (2) consecutive years
- Missed one (1) year prior to 2011
- Obtain a permit through the moose drawing
- Are selected for a permit but decline it, and/or fail to meet the criteria for legally possessing it
- Are found to have not legally applied in the current year
Enter the incorrect name or date of birth on your application or fail to indicate that you applied for a permit last year.
How the Chance Drawing Works
Join us at the 2023 Maine Moose Permit Lottery Drawing on Saturday, June 10 in Augusta. The results of the 2023 lottery drawing will be available online by 6pm on Saturday, June 10, 2023.
The drawings for resident, non-resident, and adaptive unit permits will be held separately.
As applicants' names are drawn, they are assigned to their highest choice of available WMDs until all permits are awarded. If your name is drawn and all of your preferred WMDs are filled, you'll be assigned to a district as geographically close as possible to your first choice (unless you've indicated you are not interested in any other areas).
For districts with a September and October season, permittees will be assigned to the September season until all September permits are filled, then subsequently to the October season, unless the permittee has indicated they only want the other month.
Based on preference and availability, you'll also be issued either a bull-only or antlerless-only permit, unless your permit is for the November month season, which allows for the taking of either a bull or cow.
If your name is not drawn for a resident or nonresident permit you will be entered in the adaptive unit hunt lottery (unless you indicated you are not interested in the adaptive unit hunt). If you receive an adaptive unit permit you will be assigned a week and either the north or south section of the adaptive unit. Learn more about the adaptive unit hunt.
Each successful applicant will be notified by mail and email within a few weeks of the drawing, so make sure you provide a mailing and email address where you can be reached during that time. The list of winners' names is also available online. Unsuccessful applicants will not be notified.
Purchasing Your Permit
Successful applicants are required to pay for their permit within a designated period. Applicants can pay for their permit and update their information online quickly and easily.
Permit fees are:
Actual permits are mailed out roughly two weeks before the applicable season begins.
How the Maine Moose Permit Auction Works
Each year, MDIFW auctions 10 moose hunting permits to the highest bidders through a written bid process. Proceeds from these permit sales fund youth conservation education programs in Maine, and also pay for the cost of administering the auction.
You may apply in both the lottery and the auction, but can only win one permit. If an auction winner also wins a permit in the public chance drawing, that person is no longer eligible in the auction and their bidding fee and bid amount will be refunded. The 2023 Moose Permit Auction application deadline is February 17, 2023.
The Commissioner may decline to issue any permit or any number of permits if, in the Commissioner's opinion, the auction bids received do not reflect the public value anticipated to meet the goals of this program.
How to Submit Your Bid
An applicant must submit the permit bid form (PDF) along with a nonrefundable $25.00 bidding fee and mail it to MDIFW, 353 Water Street, Augusta, ME 04333. You'll be sending us an envelope inside an envelope.
Your Mailing Envelope will contain two things:
1. Your Bid Envelope
2. Your $25 bidding fee
Your Bid Envelope will contain your completed bid form (PDF).
What Happens When You Win
Bids are opened and and winners are contacted after the bid deadline. Non-winning bidders are not contacted.
Within 30 days of being notified that you are winning bidder, you must pay the bid amount and select a hunting district, hunting week, and permit type. Auction winners can choose from any available season or permit type.
No later than 30 days before your hunt, you may add or change a sub-permittee or alternate sub-permittee.
No later than 5 days before your hunt, you may designate your alternate to take the place of your sub-permittee.
Once the drawing is complete, fees are paid, and sub-permittee is selected, winning moose auction bidders are treated like all other moose permit holders.
Moose Permit Rules and Restrictions
Who can shoot the moose - Only a holder of a valid moose hunting permit and his/her sub-permittee may hunt, shoot, or kill a moose. The sub-permittee can't hunt unless the permit holder is present.
How to change your sub-permittee - The permittee may authorize their alternate sub-permittee to participate in place of the sub-permittee, but must notify MDIFW in writing no later than five (5) business days before their hunt begins.
Restrictions for other hunting companions - Other individuals may accompany the moose hunters, but only the permit holder or licensed sub-permittee may hunt or kill the moose.
Not for resale - A person may not sell a sub-permittee or alternate sub-permittee designation. This is a Class E crime.
Swapping permits is allowed. See instructions below.
How to Swap Moose Permits
Moose permit winners are allowed to swap their moose permit with another moose permit winner, with the following conditions:
- Only one swap is allowed
- Both moose permits must be paid for prior to the swap
- The moose permit holder must take the steps to identify and contact potential permit holders to swap with (resources below). Law allows a moose permit holder to transfer a hunting zone, area or season and compensation between the two parties who are transferring moose permits is allowed but law prohibits anyone from facilitating, between those two parties, for financial consideration (“facilitate for consideration” means: directly receive compensation or something of value solely as part of an exchange of moose permits).
- Both permittees must sign a written swap letter or complete the moose swap application (PDF). The letter must include both of your names, permit numbers, permit types, seasons, and WMDs. You'll also need to attach a check for $7 made out to "Treasurer, State of Maine" (one swap fee covers both of you). Please do not send cash.
- The letter or application and $7 check must be sent to: Moose Permit Swap, MDIFW, 353 Water Street, 41SHS, Augusta ME 04333 and received by July 20, 2023. Swaps will not be allowed after this deadline.
How to find permit winners to swap with:
- Moose Permit Swap
- Moose Swap
- You can also purchase a listing of moose permit winners from InforME at informe.org/moose
How the Controlled Moose Hunt for Disabled Veterans Works
The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has allocated 25 moose hunting permits to disabled veterans for a Controlled Moose Hunt in Aroostook County.
Most of these permits will go to Maine residents with valid disabled veteran hunting licenses, drawn at random through a chance lottery. Some may be issued to sponsored Maine Veterans and will not be drawn at lottery, and others may be issued to nonresident disabled veterans who possess a valid big game hunting license and are sponsored by a National Veterans Organization.
This is a one-time hunt. If you have ever tagged a moose in this hunt, you are ineligible to participate again. Permits will be issued in cooperation with the Department of Defense, Veterans, and Emergency Management. The Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services and its partners will provide logistical support to the selected disabled veterans during their moose hunt.
To apply or for more information, visit www.maine.gov/veterans