A special moose hunt that started last season will continue into 2022.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now accepting applications for the 2022 Moose Permit Lottery. When filling out the application, hunters can choose to take part in the Adaptive Unit Hunt. The special hunt helps biologists determine if moose density reduction can break or lessen winter tick impacts to moose in Maine.
Winter tick is a specific species of tick, which has been found to not be an invasive species in Maine. Unlike dog or deer ticks, winter ticks have a one year lifecycle. They thrive on moose, which can host anywhere between 50,000 and 90,000 ticks. The ticks consume about one milliliter of blood, which when multiplied by tens of thousands, leads to gallons and gallons of blood loss. The blood loss causes moose calves to quickly become anemic, and cow moose tend to suffer from various forms of reproductive issues.
To combat winter tick, a multi-phase moose study began in 2019, and is expected to continue to 2024. Phase one began with surveying the moose population in a 2,000 square mile section in wildlife management zone 4. The study area has been divided into two similarly sized sections. 30 moose calves in each section were fitted with GPS collars to monitor survival rates.
Now in phase two, IFW increased hunting in the study area in fall 2021 to reduce the moose population density. The continuation of the hunt will be similar to how it was ran last season. In the eastern half of zone 4, and all other wildlife districts open to moose hunting, permits will stay at normal levels. All the moose harvested in the study area will be analyzed by biologists.
Data points biologists will collect include:
- Canine teeth (for aging)
- Antler spreads
- Winter tick counts
- Corpora lutea
- Carcass weights
Tentative season dates:
- First week - 10/17/22-10/22/22
- Second week - 0/24/22-10/29/22
- Third week - 10/31/22-11/5/22
In total, 550 cow permits will be issued. 200 cow permits will be issued for the first and third weeks, and 150 permits for the second week.
Hunters selected for these special permits will be required to attend an in-person or virtual, one-hour moose pre-hunt briefing. Hunters 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. Because the study area is within the North Maine Woods, hunters must pay the use fees at entry checkpoints. 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 and exit points. Hunters that fail to collect canine teeth and ovaries out of the field will be asked to return to kill site and retrieve them.
Hunters have until, May 12 to apply. Applications are only being accepted online. Once completed, you'll receive a confirmation email indicating that you successfully entered. The moose lottery drawing will be held in June.