Moose Hunting Information

Moose in fall

Photo provided by Lisa Gilbert

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Maine Moose Hunting

Maine’s moose population is the largest of all the lower 48 states, estimated at 60-70,000 animals. This presents an incredible hunting opportunity for those lucky enough to win a Maine moose permit. And the appeal is no secret — every year, the Maine moose hunt is among the most coveted in the nation, with an average of 50,000 applications for the 2,000 to 3,000 moose permits typically issued.
Whether you’re walking/stalking in the woods, using a ground blind/tree stand or plying the waterways, the natural beauty of the Maine wilderness makes each moose hunt a worthwhile pursuit — even when you don’t tag out. That said, your chances are strong. Success rates for permit holders over the past 10 years have been over 70 percent – 73% in 2017. Every year, among those success stories are several moose exceeding 1,000 lbs. dressed weight; and trophy racks are not uncommon.

Who May Hunt

Only holders of a valid moose hunting permit and their subpermittee may hunt moose.

Legal Methods for Taking Moose

Moose may be hunted with rifle, shotgun, handgun, muzzleloader, bow and arrow or crossbow. Shotguns using shot loads and .22 caliber rim fire firearms are prohibited.

Other Restrictions/Bag Limit

The bag limit is one moose per permit holder, per year. The moose may be shot by either the permittee or the subpermittee. It is illegal to drive moose in the State of Maine.

For more information on moose hunting laws and rules, see the Moose Hunter's Guide (PDF).

Attention Moose Hunters (October 22-27, 2018)!

We need your help collecting ovary samples for determining the overall health and productivity of Maine's moose population.

Antlerless Moose Hunt: In WMD's 1-4 only, all moose hunters who harvest a female moose must present the ovaries and/or reproductive tract at the first open registration station. The milk sack (udder) shall be left attached to the carcass.

Please view this short video demonstrating how to remove the 2 ovaries during the gutting process and if needed we have provided a second instructional video showing how to locate the ovaries within the gut pile of the moose. Also you can listen to the podcast (.mp3) too for help in locating the ovaries while in the field!

Moose Permit Application Information

Applications for the 2018 Moose Permit Lottery will be accepted online only. The deadline to apply is 11:59pm on May 15, 2018.

If an applicant does not have access to a computer or the Internet at home, the Department has the following suggestions for applying online:

  • Use a computer at work during lunch or a break
  • Use a computer at your local library
  • Ask a friend or relative with a computer for help in applying

Apply Online Now

Moose Permit Application Deadline

The deadline to submit an online moose permit application is 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2018.

Application Fees

Maine Residents

$15.00 = One-chance (or bonus point only)

Nonresidents

$15.00 = One-chance (or bonus point only)
$25.00 = Three-chances
$35.00 = Six-chances
$55.00 = **Ten-chances

** Nonresidents may purchase multiples of 10 chances at $55.00 each.
Example: 5 multiples of 10 chances would cost $275.00 (5 x $55.00 = $275.00)

Receipt

Applicants who apply online will receive a confirmation number at the end of the online moose lottery application.

Bonus Points

Each bonus point accumulated gives the individual an additional chance in the drawing. Bonus points are accumulated as shown below:

0 - 5 years = one point per year
6 - 10 years = two points per year
11 - 15 years = three points per year
16+ years = 10 points per year

Count the number of years you have applied since 1998 without winning or skipping a year
(See chart below)
Example: If you have applied for a moose permit since 1998 without winning or skipping a year, you will have 70 bonus points this year. The maximum amount of points a person could possibly have without skipping a year as of 2018 would be 80 points.
1 year = 1 bonus point
10 years = 15 bonus points
19 years = 70 bonus points
28 years = 160 bonus points
2 years = 2 bonus points
11 years = 18 bonus points
20 years = 80 bonus points
29 years = 170 bonus points
3 years = 3 bonus points
12 years = 21 bonus points
21 years = 90 bonus points
30 years = 180 bonus points
4 years = 4 bonus points
13 years = 24 bonus points
22 years = 100 bonus points
31 years = 190 bonus points
5 years = 5 bonus points
14 years = 27 bonus points
23 years = 110 bonus points
32 years = 200 bonus points
6 years = 7 bonus points
15 years = 30 bonus points
24 years = 120 bonus points
33 years = 210 bonus points
7 years = 9 bonus points
16 years = 40 bonus points
25 years = 130 bonus points
34 years = 220 bonus points
8 years = 11 bonus points
17 years = 50 bonus points
26 years = 140 bonus points
35 years = 230 bonus points
9 years = 13 bonus points
18 years = 60 bonus points
27 years = 150 bonus points
36 years = 240 bonus points

Bonus points are tracked by the Department using the applicant's name and date of birth. Bonus points are not transferable.

To receive bonus points, please make sure to enter your correct name and date of birth on the application. Also, you need to indicate that you applied for the lottery last year. The online application will search our database for your name and date of birth, and indicate the number of bonus points you have. If you do not agree with the number of bonus points indicated, you should contact the Department.

Important - Bonus Points are forfeited if the applicant:

  • fails to apply or purchase bonus points in any two (2) consecutive years; if prior to 2011 and you missed one (1) year, your bonus points were forfeited.
  • obtains a permit through the moose drawing;
  • is selected for a permit and later declines and/or fails to meet the criteria for legally possessing that permit;
  • is found to have not legally applied in the current year; or
  • enters the incorrect name or date of birth on the application or fails to indicate that they applied for a permit last year.

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2018 Moose Permit Allocations by Wildlife Management District

No more than 10% of the permits in each District will be issued to nonresidents. NOTE: The permit allocation chart below reflects the preliminary numbers by WMD.

WMD
Bull-Only
Antlerless-Only
Any-Moose
Total
Sept. 24-Sept. 29
Oct. 8-13
Oct. 22-27
Sept. 24-Sept. 29 Oct. 8-13
Oct. 22-27
Oct. 30-Nov. 24
150
150
0
0
0
100
0
400
125
125
0
0
0
100
0
350
75
75
0
0
0
75
0
225
150
100
0
0
0
100
0
350
100
50
0
0
0
50
0
200
100
50
0
0
0
25
0
175
0
125
0
0
0
0
0
125
0
175
0
0
0
0
0
175
0
75
0
0
0
0
0
75
30
30
0
0
0
0
0
60
25
25
0
0
0
0
0
50
0
35
0
0
0
0
0
35
0
35
0
0
0
0
0
35
0
35
0
0
0
0
0
35
0
0
0
0
0
0
25
25
0
0
0
0
0
0
20
20
0
20
0
0
0
0
0
20
20
20
0
0
0
0
0
40
45
30
0
0
0
0
0
75
15 15
0
0
0
0
0
30
0
0
0
0
0
Total
835
1,170
0
0
0
450
45
2,500

Wildlife Management District Map

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Season

Hunters holding valid moose permits and their designated subpermittee may hunt moose in one of twenty five wildlife management districts (WMD's), which cover over 21,000 square miles. Successful bidders of the moose auction may select the hunting zone of their choice.

2018 Season Dates and Areas Open to Moose Hunting (subject to change)

September 24, 2018 through September 29, 2018 - WMD's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 18, 19, 27 and 28

October 8, 2018 through October 13, 2018 - WMD's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 27, and 28.

October 22, 2018 through October 27, 2018 - WMD's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

October 29, 2018 through November 24, 2018 - WMD's 15 and 16.

October 27, 2018 (Maine Residents Only) - WMD's 15, 16 and 19

Applicants may indicate season and WMD preferences, and may check a box if they do not want an antlerless-only permit. Successful applicants will receive either a bull only permit or an antlerless only permit. Permits for the October 29 through November 24, 2018 season (October 27, 2018 - Residents only) are any-moose permits which allow the taking of either a bull or a cow.

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Three Year Waiting Period

Anyone receiving a Maine moose hunting permit must wait three years before being eligible to win another permit. If you received a permit in 2015, 2016, or 2017 you will not be eligible to win in 2018. Although you are not eligible to win, you can still apply and earn a bonus point in 2018. This requirement affects permit holders only; it does not affect hunters who were a subpermittee, nor does it prohibit a hunter from being a subpermittee during the three-year waiting period.

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Age Requirements

You are eligible to apply for the Maine moose lottery if:

  • you are eligible to obtain a Maine big game hunting license or will be eligible to obtain a Maine big game hunting license by the opening day of the moose hunting season.
  • 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 points but is ineligible to receive a moose hunting permit. A person under 10 years of age on the opening day of the moose season may not be a subpermittee-designate or alternate subpermittee-designate.

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 being offered.

Note: Moose permits to Maine resident applicants 65 years of age or older.
A recent law change guarantees a moose permit to any Maine resident applicant who is 65 years of age or older or will attain 65 years of age 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 WMD's where you are interested in getting a permit.

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Subpermittee and Alternate Subpermittee

At the time of application, each applicant may select one person as a subpermittee to participate in the moose hunt. An alternate subpermittee may also be designated at the time of application. Upon application to the Department, the permittee may change that person's subpermittee or alternate subpermittee until 30 days prior to the start of the moose hunting season for which the permit was issued.

The permittee may authorize the alternate subpermittee to participate in the hunt in place of the subpermittee, if the permittee notifies the Department in writing no later than five business days before their hunt begins. Only one moose may be taken per permit, and it may be shot by either the permit holder or licensed subpermittee.

Other individuals may accompany the moose hunters, but only the permit holder or licensed subpermittee may hunt or kill the moose. The permittee must be present during the hunt or the subpermittee cannot hunt.

A. A person may not sell a subpermittee or an alternate subpermittee designation.

B. A person who violates paragraph A commits a Class E crime.

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Moose Permit Lottery Drawing

The 2018 moose permit lottery drawing will be held on June 9, 2018 at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds. For more information see the Moose Permit Lottery Festival website.See 2017 Moose Permit Lottery Results.

Applicants are assigned, in the order drawn, to their highest choice of available wildlife management districts (WMD's) until all permits are awarded. If you are drawn to receive a permit and your preferred WMD's are already filled, you will be assigned to a WMD as close geographically as possible to your first choice (unless you check the box on your application indicating you only want the districts that you have chosen). If the district you are assigned to has both a September and an October hunting season, you will be assigned to the September season (unless you check the box on your application indicating that you only want to hunt in October) until all available permits are filled, then subsequently drawn applicants will be assigned to the October season (unless you check the box indicating that you do not want to hunt in October).

Drawings for residents and nonresidents will be held separately.

Individuals selected to receive a moose permit, but who decline the permit for which they applied will lose their bonus points.

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Notification

Each successful applicant in the permit drawing will be notified by mail within a few weeks after the drawing. The successful applicant will then have a designated period in which to acquire the permit. It is very important that you provide a mailing address where you can be reached during this time.

Applicants not selected in the drawing will not be notified. We also post the names of the winners here after the drawing.

Permit Fees

Successful applicants are required to pay a permit fee before they may obtain their permit. Permit fees are as follows:

  • Resident - $52.00
  • Nonresident - $585.00

NOTE: The actual moose permits are generally mailed out two weeks prior to the first week of the moose hunting season for which the permit was issued.

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Moose Permit Auction

General Description of the Program

The Department will auction 10 moose hunting permits to applicants who submit the highest bids through a written bid process. An applicant must submit the permit bid form along with a nonrefundable $25.00 bidding fee. Each person awarded a permit must pay the bid amount and must select a hunting district, hunting week, and permit type within 30 days after the permit is awarded. A permit winner has up to 30 days prior to the selected hunt to add or change a subpermittee or alternate subpermittee. The permittee may authorize the alternate subpermittee to participate in the hunt in place of the subpermittee, if the permittee notifies the Department in writing no later than five business days before their hunt begins. A person may apply in both the general public chance drawing and in the auction but can receive only one permit. If a successful bidder receives a permit in the public chance drawing, the person is no longer eligible in the auction; and the bidding fee and bid amount submitted by that person will be refunded. Pursuant to Title 12,  11154, sub -  11:k, the Commissioner may decline to issue any permit or any number of permits issuable pursuant to this subsection if, in the Commissioner's opinion, the auction bids received do not reflect the public value anticipated to meet the goals of this subsection. All other provisions of the moose hunting laws and regulations apply. All funds from the sale of these permits, will be deposited in a nonlapsing fund to be used to pay the costs to administer the program and to fund Youth Conservation Education Programs in Maine.

Proposed Season Dates and Areas Open to Hunting (Subject to Change):

Note: Actual gender and quantity of permits will be determined at a later date.

September 24, 2018 - September 29, 2018 in Wildlife Management Districts (WMD's) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 18,19, 27 and 28 only. (bull only).

October 8, 2018 - October 13, 2018 in the northern two thirds of Maine including Wildlife Management Districts WMD's 1 through 14, 17, 18, 19, 27, & 28 (bull only).

October 22, 2018 - October 27, 2018 in WMD's 1 through 6.

October 29, 2018 - November 24, 2018 in WMD's 15, 16, 23, 25, & 26 (any-moose). October 27, 2018 for Maine Residents only.

Who May Hunt: Only holders of a valid moose hunting permit and their subpermittees may hunt moose.

Legal Methods for taking Moose: Please refer to Maine Moose Guide (PDF).

Legal Hunting Hours: The legal hunting hours for moose shall be from 1/2 hour before sunrise until 1/2 hour after sunset.

Other Restrictions: The bag limit is one moose per permit holder. Successful bidders may select either a "bull only" or an "antlerless only" permit or either for November. It may be harvested by either the permittee or subpermittee. It is illegal to drive moose.

How to Submit a Moose Permit Bid

2018 Moose Auction Information and Bid Form (PDF)

General Instructions: Bids must be submitted on the standard bid form. A person may submit more than one bid but may only receive one moose hunting permit. For any person submitting more than one bid, the highest bid submitted will be the official bid. Request a Moose Permit Bid Packet.

Bidding Deadline: Bids must be received at Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State Street, Augusta, Maine 04333, no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on February 15, 2018.

Fees: A nonrefundable bid fee of $25.00 in U.S. funds must accompany each bid.

The average winning Moose Auction Bid for 2017 was $15,023.45.

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Swap Moose Hunting Permits

Moose permit winners are allowed to swap their moose permit with another moose permit winner. There are no restrictions on swapping other than only one swap is allowed, and both moose permits must be paid for before swaps can be made.

Moose permit winners who wish to swap their permit with another moose permit winner will need to do all their own work to identify and contact potential permit winners to swap with.

If you are interested in registering or finding someone who wants to swap moose permits, please visit the one of the sites listed below.

Once you find someone to swap your moose permit with, you must send a written swap letter (one letter only signed by both permittee's) or complete the moose swap application to: Moose Permit Swap, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 284 State Street, 41 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333. The fee to swap permits is $7.00 (one check for $7.00 covers both of you).

The letter must include your name, permit number, permit type, season, and WMD, as well as the name, permit number, permit type, season, and WMD of the person you are swapping with. Remember, the letter must be signed by both permittee's. The letter or moose swap application, as well as the $7.00 fee permit swap fee, must be received by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife in Augusta by July 20, 2018 in order to make the permit swap. Swaps will not be allowed after this deadline.

Make checks payable to: "Treasurer, State of Maine". Please do not send cash.

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Maine Moose Hunters Club

Moose Club Rules - Membership in the Maine Moose Hunters Club is open to all hunters who legally take a moose in Maine.

  1. Open to anyone, resident and non-resident, on a Maine Moose Hunting Permit.
  2. Only the person who kills and registers a moose, whether permit holder or subpermittee, is eligible for club.
  3. Tagging station attendants, Maine game wardens and state game biologists can certify weight. If possible, please have witnesses also.
  4. Only one jacket patch issued per year.

For more information contact The Maine Sportsman by phone (207) 622-4242 or online at www.Mainesportsman.com

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Moose Harvest by Age

Congratulations to all hunters who harvested a moose! When you registered your moose the Wildlife Biologists obtained a tooth from the animal which helps them determine the age and obtain other critical information on the moose herd. This page has been developed so that successful moose hunters can access information on the moose that they harvested.

If your name is not listed or no age is listed, either no tooth was submitted, or we were unable to determine the age from the tooth.

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Controlled Moose Hunt for Disabled Veterans

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has allocated twenty-five (25) moose hunting permits to disabled veterans to participate in the Controlled Moose Hunt in Aroostook County.

The majority of these permits will be issued to Maine residents who possess a valid disabled veteran hunting license. Some permits may be issued to sponsored Maine Veterans and will not be drawn at lottery. Also, some permits 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 hunt in the DVCMH again.

These permits will be issued in cooperation with the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management; Maine Veteran's Services and partners will provide logistical support to the selected disabled veterans during their moose hunt.

Controlled Moose Hunt Application (PDF)

For more information, please contact Bureau of Veterans Services.

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Review of 2016 Moose Hunt

Moose Permits and Applicants

The annual allocation of moose permits is a function of WMD specific management goals. Moose management goals are categorized as either recreational, compromise, or road safety. Permit levels changed in 6 management districts between 2015 and 2016 providing an overall decrease of 600 permits. This included decreased antlerless permits in WMDs 1-4 and 19 as well as bull permits in WMD 3, 4 and 19. The number of moose permits allocated in 2016 was 2,140. Additional permits may be issued in a given year when permits are deferred one year due to permittee illness, armed service status, or similar situation.

During 2016, a total of 220 Antlerless-only Permits (AOPs) were allotted to 5 WMDs (1-4 and 19). The number of AOPs allocated in a given district is a reflection of a harvest level that will either grow, decline, or stabilize the district's moose population. Consequently, WMDs that can sustain only limited cow mortality are allocated relatively few antlerless permits. In contrast, WMDs that can support higher cow harvest, and still meet management objectives due to population size and structure, are allocated more permits. The southern Maine WMD moose hunt is a slight variation on this. Because of low moose densities in southern Maine, only Any-moose permits are allocated as well as the season is extended to the length of the November deer season to increase the chances of a hunter harvesting a moose.. The November time frame was chosen to honor recommendations by landowners who wanted the southern Maine moose season to open concurrently with the November firearms season for deer.

Permits were allocated to qualified applicants in a random computerized lottery. Overall, 54,893 people applied for a moose permit during 2016. This included 38,746 residents and 16,147 non-residents. Out of those applicant pools 5.0% of the residents and 1.3% of the non-residents were selected for permits.

Statewide Statistics for 2016

Overall, 1,609 moose were registered during 2016, see Moose Harvest Information. Since the re-institution of moose hunting in 1980, moose season timing (split seasons started in 2002) and areas open to hunting have changed several times.

Bull Harvest

The 2016 statewide harvest of 1,396 antlered bulls during the Sept/Oct seasons was 206 bulls less than 2015 harvest (1,602). Among the antlered bulls taken in 2016 (and aged by cementum annuli 1,203), 89 (7%) were 1  years old (yearlings) sporting their first set of antlers, while 191 were 2  years old (16%), and 198 were 3   year olds (18%). Mature bulls between 4  to 18  years old comprised 60% of the bull harvest.

On average, breeding bulls lose approximately 15% of their body mass during the rut. Because of this and the timing of the fall harvest, bull weights reflect a decrease in body mass from September to October. Average bull weights (yearling and older) in the 2016 harvest for September were 741 pounds versus 678 pounds (i.e., dressed weights) in the October harvest (a 8.5% decline). The heaviest bull weighed in at 1,061 dressed (no digestive tract, heart, lungs, or liver) and was killed in WMD 1 during the September season (7.5 years old). The largest antler spread was 64.5 inches on a 9.5 year old bull with 20 legal points. Among antlered bulls examined in the harvest, 12% of the bulls sported cervicorn antlers (antlers without a defined palm) and 35% of these animals were yearlings; 20% were mature bulls (>4 years old) including the oldest at 13.5 years-old.

Antlerless Harvest

The 2016 statewide harvest of adult (yearling and older) cows decreased from the 2015 harvest (156 vs. 335, respectively). Fewer antlerless-only permits were issued in 2016 in response to approaching publicly derived population objectives in some management districts with the bulk of the decrease occurring in WMD 4. This reduction in permits resulted in the decrease in the antlerless-only harvest. In addition to the 156 adult cows that were harvested, 15 calves (5 males, and 10 females) were harvested for a total harvest of 172 antlerless moose for the 2016 season. This decrease included the antlerless moose taken as part of the 105 Any-moose permits issued within the southern zones. The antlerless moose harvest in the southern zones was comprised of 12 bulls and 8 adult cows.

Moose Reproductive Data

Antlerless permits during the second October season in WMDs 1-4, and 19 allowed us to collect reproductive data critical to assessing and monitoring moose population health and growth. In 2016, hunters removed and brought in 67 sets of moose ovaries for examination by biological staff. A cow's body weight and condition have a bearing on her potential to become pregnant and on the number of offspring she will produce. Pregnancy rates of cow moose with age and weight data was similar to 2015 at 92%. Typically, moose do not become pregnant until 2.5 years old. Of the cow moose examined this year, 0% of yearlings and 92% of the mature cows (2.5+ years) were pregnant.

Corpora lutea are identifiable structures within the ovaries that provide an indication of ovulation and potential pregnancy rates. Overall, there were 1.08 corpora lutea / cow for cows older than 3.5 years. While this is an improvement from 2015 by 0.17 it remains an indication that moose in the northern portion of the state are near ecological carrying capacity, since the amount of available forage (food) is what allows cows to attain the body weight necessary for reproductive success. We anticipate that additional sampling of female moose will provide a clearer picture of this relationship across northern Maine as well as regionally.

Hunter Participation, Residency and Success Rate

In 2016, 1,935 residents and 205 non-residents won permits to hunt moose. Most non-residents were successful in their hunt (84% success rate). Out-of-state hunters came from 35 states (as far away as Alaska/Hawaii). The majority (19%) of out-of-state hunters came up from Pennsylvania. Resident success rates were 74% and when combined with the outstanding success by out-of-staters, the total success rate was 75% statewide. The higher success rate of out-of-state hunters, as compared to residents, may be attributed to the higher proportion of out-of-state hunters using registered Maine Guides for their hunt. Success rates over the last 10 years have been around 80%. Conditions for September and November were seasonable; however multiple days in September and October were yet again unseasonably warm.

Comprehensive Moose Management in Maine

Beginning in the winter of 2010-11, IFW began conducting aerial surveys to estimate moose abundance and composition (bull, cow and calf) across the core range of moose in Maine (roughly a line from Grafton Notch to Calais). Aerial survey data, reproductive data from female moose (ovaries), and age data from moose teeth (removed at registration stations) is providing biologists with a more complete picture of Maine's moose population (i.e., size and composition) than ever before. Biologists and regulators (e.g., Commissioner's Advisory Council) use these data to set moose permit levels to meet publicly derived management goals. Moose viewing and moose hunting are two primary goals for moose that are equally weighed for management purposes.

The size of Maine's moose population is not static and will change annually in response to many factors including birth rates of calves and the survival of adults. In the winter of 2014, the department began an adult female and calf survival study to monitor survival rates over the next few years and more closely examine sources of mortality including the impact of winter ticks. This past winter we continued this work in our two study areas WMD 2 in northern Maine and WMD 8 in western Maine. Moose will be monitored over the next 5 years to closely investigate these important elements of the moose population.

For more detailed information on all of Maine's Wildlife Species, please see Research and Management Reports.

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