Photo provided by Lisa Gilbert
On this page:
- The Maine Moose Permitting Process
- How to Enter the Moose Lottery
- Eligibility Requirements
- 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 three ways only:
- Through two chance lottery drawings (resident and non-resident)
- Through a competitive auction
- Through a controlled moose hunt for disabled veterans
Ninety percent of all permits in Maine's 21 eligible Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) are allocated to residents, and no more than 10 percent to non-residents.
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 runs from early February to mid-May each year. The 2018 application deadline was May 15, 11:59 p.m.
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. Read on to learn how your WMD choice can increase your chances of winning a permit.
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. Read on for more information about the role of sub-permittees.
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 11 - 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 2015, 2016, or 2017, you are not eligible for 2018); 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.
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 2017:
Total Applications Received: 54,003
Total Permits Issued: 2106
Change in total permits from previous year: -34
Antlerless Permits: 220
Any-Moose Permits: 105
Non-Resident Applicants: 15,763
Non-Resident Permits Issued: 207
Non-Resident Selection Rate: 1.3% (~1 permit for every 76 applicants)
Resident Applicants: 38,240
Resident Permits Issued: 1899
Resident Selection Rate: 5% (~1 permit for every 20 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)
Moose permits are available in 21 of Maine's 28 Wildlife Management Districts, and are distributed as follows:
|WMD||Total Permits||Permits by Season|
*10/27 hunt is for Maine residents only.
** Hunters drawn for WMD 27 or 28 may hunt in either district.
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 (e.g. 50 for $275)
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. You also need to indicate that you applied for the lottery last year. 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
How the Chance Drawing Works
Moose lottery winners were drawn on June 9, 2018 at the Skowhegan Fairgrounds, as part of the town's three-day annual Moose Fest celebration. The results of the 2018 lottery drawing are now available online.
The drawings for resident and non-resident permits were 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 Oct. 29-Nov.24 season, which allows for the taking of either a bull or cow.
Each successful applicant will be notified by mail within a few weeks of the drawing, so make sure you provide a mailing 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.
The auction closes on the same day the chance lottery opens. 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 2018 auction deadline was February 15, 2018. The auction totaled over $160,000.
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, 284 State 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 winners are contacted after 5:00 p.m. on the day of 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
- You need to do all of the work to identify and contact potential permit winners to swap with (resources below)
- 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, 284 State Street, 41SHS, Augusta ME 04333 and received by July 20, 2018. 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, submit the Controlled Moose Hunt Application (PDF) to the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services no later than 4:00 p.m. on May 4, 2018. Results will be posted to www.maine.gov/veterans no earlier than May 25, 2018.
For more info, contact the Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services.
For information on how to prepare for your hunt, visit our Moose Hunting page.