December 9, 2015

IFW News -- Preliminary Moose Hunt Numbers Are Up For 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine -- With the preliminary numbers in, it looks as though moose hunters were more successful in 2015 than in 2014, and Maine?s moose population looks healthy.

?We had a number of moose that weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds,? said Kantar. ?The moose we examined looked very healthy, with good percentage of body fat stored for the winter.?

Approximately 2,200 hunters harvested a moose in 2015, an 80% success rate for the 2,740 permits issued. This is up from 2014, when 2,022 of 3,095 hunters were successful for a 65% success rate. With approximately 12% fewer permits issued in 2015 than 2014, approximately 180 more moose hunters were successful in 2015.

?The numbers are still preliminary, but it looks as though better hunting weather, later seasons and fewer permits all contributed to a higher success rate for moose hunters,? said Lee Kantar, moose biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Maine?s moose hunt is designed to manage the moose population. By modifying the number and type of moose permits available to hunters, the department can manage the moose population in order to provide for hunting and viewing opportunities, maintain a healthy moose population, and limit the number of moose/vehicle accidents.

The moose hunt also provides thousands of pounds of wild game meat that is high in nutrition, sustainable, free range, and organic. On average, an 850-pound field dressed moose will provide over 450 pounds of meat.

?Hunting in Maine is a tradition,? said IFW wildlife division director Judy Camuso, ?Not only does it help us manage healthy wildlife populations, but it also provides organic, free-range protein to thousands of families in Maine and beyond.?

The preliminary harvest results are calculated through biological data collected at moose registration stations during the September, October and November moose hunt seasons.

?Each year at moose registration stations, we examine over 90 percent of the moose that are harvested. By comparing the data to years past, we can get a fairly accurate estimate of how many hunters were successful,? said Kantar, who added that a final harvest number on the moose hunt would be completed by the end of January.

Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with over 52,374 hunters applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose.