The 2023 Maine moose hunt application period is open for applicants to apply. Visit https://mooselottery.web.maine.gov/online/moose/ to get started. For more information on Maine moose hunting, go to www.maine.gov/ifw/huntingtrapping/moose-permit.html. There will be three seasons offered for bulls this year. The first season is bull only and is September 25-30. The second season is October 9-14. There is also an any moose hunt in a couple units October 30-November 25. The moose drawing will be held on June 11th, with results being available by 6 p.m. that day.
Go on More Hunts with Better Information, Join Huntin' Fool Today!
Online applications must be completed by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on May 15, 2023. To apply online, go to www.maine.gov/online/moose/. You only front the application fees; you do not have to purchase your license or moose tag until you draw. You may only use Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. Maine no longer offers a paper application method for the moose draw. All application fees are non-refundable. The license and permit fee are only required if you are successful in the draw. Maine does not allow hunters to apply as a party. You may apply for points only for $15.
Our Memberships Include The Most Accurate Draw Odds Available, Join Now!
No more than 8% of the permits will be issued to non-residents. You may list up to 10 units on your application. Hunters will be selected by a computerized random drawing. When your application is selected in the draw, they will go through all of your unit choices listed on the application before moving on to the next application. If any units listed on your application still have a non-resident tag available, you will be awarded that permit. Each successful applicant will be notified by mail and email within a few weeks of the drawing. Successful applicants have a designated period in which to purchase the permit. All successful applicants will have their points purged regardless of whether or not they accept the permit. For areas with a September and October season, applicants will be assigned to the September season until all September permits are filled, and then they will begin to fill the October season unless applicants indicate they only want the October season.
There is a three-year waiting period for anyone who has received a moose permit in Maine; however, those applicants are still eligible to apply for bonus points in 2023. The waiting period does not affect sub permittees, nor does it prohibit a hunter from being a subpermittee during their three-year waiting period.
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 their subpermittee or alternate subpermittee until 30 days prior to the start of the moose hunting season for which the permit was issued. It is now illegal to sell a subpermittee designation. A subpermittee is a person who can hunt with the permittee, and either the permittee or the subpermittee can kill the moose. Only one moose can be killed per permit, so the permittee and subpermittee must be physically in the presence of each other so they don’t both kill a moose.
Non-residents may purchase as many chances in the draw as they wish. All chances purchased are non-refundable. Prices are listed under the 2023 non-resident fees table. Successful applicants who wish to purchase their $585 moose permit must also purchase a $115 hunting license.
Anyone born after 1976 must have successful completion of an approved hunter safety course or show proof of having previously held an adult license to hunt with firearms. To obtain an adult archery hunting license, you must show proof of having held an adult license to hunt with a bow in any year after 1979 or successful completion of an archery education course. Anyone who hunts with a firearm or crossbow must wear one article of hunter orange clothing, unless it’s during the November hunting season, in which case hunters need two articles of hunter orange clothing. This can include a hat, shirt, vest, etc. Hunter orange clothing is not required when hunting with a bow. Sunday hunting is not allowed in Maine, so permit holders should take that into account when planning their hunt schedule.
Hunters must be 10 years old on the opening day of the moose season to be able to receive a moose hunting permit, but there is no minimum age to accrue bonus points. Youth 16 years and older must pass a hunter education course, but youth under 16 must only be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older who has passed a state-certified hunter education course.
Maine’s bonus point system started in 1998. Each bonus point accumulated gives the individual an additional chance in the drawing. Bonus points are accumulated differently than most states. They are as follows: 0-5 years = 1 point per year, 6-10 years = 2 points per year, 11-15 years = 3 points per year, and 16+ years = 10 points per year. If you fail to apply or purchase bonus points for two consecutive years, you will forfeit your points.
In 2022, there were 24,249 non-resident applicants for the 308 available nonresident tags, making the draw odds 1 in 79. In 2022, there were 45,302 resident applicants for 3,962 resident tags, making the draw odds 1 in 12. However, it must be noted that nonresident applicants can purchase as many chances for the lottery as they want, making the odds of drawing much worse than they may appear. That also means your odds increase with each chance you purchase.
There are no special youth permits or hunts for moose in Maine.
Moose may be hunted with a rifle, shotgun, handgun, muzzleloader, bow and arrow, or crossbow. Shotguns using shot loads and .22 or .17 caliber rimfire firearms are prohibited. Draw-locks and set bows are illegal unless otherwise permitted for disabled hunters. It is illegal to drive or chase moose with the intent to push them to a waiting hunter. The use of electronic calling devices to call in moose is permitted in Maine.
Landowner tags are sometimes available in Maine. Contact the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for more information. Maine will auction off 10 moose hunting permits to applicants who submit the highest bids through a written bid process. Bids had to have been received at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 353 Water Street, Augusta, ME 04333. For 2022, the moose permit auction deadline of February 18th has already passed. High bids usually come in north of $20,000. If you are looking to bid in 2023, you must also include a non-refundable bid fee of $25.
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 a valid disabled veteran hunting license, drawn randomly through the lottery. Some may be issued to Maine veterans not through the lottery, and others may be issued to non-resident disabled veterans who possess a valid big game hunting license and are sponsored by a National Veterans Organization. For more information, visit www.maine.gov/veterans.
All chances purchased along with the application/bonus point fee are non-refundable. You are not required to purchase your moose permit if successful. 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. Both moose permits must be paid for before the swap. To swap, you must mail a letter with both names, permit numbers, permit types, seasons, WMDs, and a $7 check made out to Treasurer, State of Maine. The check must be sent to Moose Permit Swap, MDIFW, 353 Water Street, 41SHS, Augusta, ME 04333. The last day to submit your moose swap application is July 20, 2023. Two websites also exist to allow permit holders to connect with other permit holders to facilitate permit swaps.
First, the hunter must securely attach a plainly visible tag to the animal with their name, address, and license number on the tag. Then, the hunter must take the moose to a Registration Station to be registered. A list of Registration Stations can be found on Maine’s website at www.maine.gov/ifw/huntingtrapping/moose-registration-stations.html. Permit holders will receive a moose hunting survey card. All permit holders must complete and return that survey within 10 days of the end of the moose season.
Consult with Hunters Who Have Hunted in Your Unit, Join Now!
The 2023 Maine Moose Hunter’s Guide was not available at the time of print, but you can view the 2022 Guide by going to www.maine.gov/ifw To view Maine’s moose hunting maps on their website, go to www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/hunting-laws/wildlifemanagement-districts/index.html.
North Maine Woods, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization that manages public use and access to 3.5 million acres of forestland located north and west of Baxter State Park. Wildlife Management districts 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, and 9 are either totally or partially within the NMW management area. The region under NMW, Inc. management is primarily privately owned by families, corporations, and a conservation organization, and about 5% is owned by the state of Maine. For more Inc., go to www.northmainewoods.org.
Maine’s moose population is far and away the best Canadian moose population in the U.S. Where most states are closing down their moose hunts due to population issues, Maine has recently instituted a few more antlerless hunts to keep a better bull to cow ratio in some of the top units.
Maine operates their draw more like a state lottery than a draw system. Non-residents can purchase as many chances in the draw as they want. They can purchase 1 chance or a bonus point for $15, 3 chances for $25, 6 chances for $35, or 10 chances for $55. Non-resident applicants can purchase as many packs of 10 chances as they would like. For every chance purchased, it is another chance in the drawing. Bonus points are added on to however many chances are purchased by the applicant.
Maine allows successful applicants to designate a subpermittee and an alternate subpermittee. The hunter and the subpermittee can hunt the moose, but they have to be in each other’s presence while in the field so as not to harvest more than one moose. Hunters can change their subpermittee or alternate subpermittee until 30 days prior to the start of their moose season. It is illegal to sell a subpermittee or alternate subpermittee designation.
All applicants can list up to 10 unit choices and the season dates they are willing to hunt at the time of application. Historically, units 1-6 have had the best mix of trophy potential and robust populations. Be mindful of unit 4 in years to come as this is the unit where MDIFW is conducting their adaptive hunt and the goal is to reduce moose densities. Currently, they are issuing 550 cow permits in the adaptive unit, and this could have a major impact on future populations.
Tooth cementum analysis is done on most harvested bulls, reporting that a majority of bulls taken are considered mature.
Units 1, 2, 4, and 5 make up most of the North Maine Woods, Inc. property. Most of this is private land, but through NMW, Inc. management, this huge block of land is made accessible to all hunters. There are certain restrictions that apply with day-use fees and checkpoints to access the 350 campsites that are maintained by NMW, Inc. throughout the 3.5 million acres. This is some of the most remote country Maine has to offer.
Maine offers three hunting seasons where you can hunt bull moose – one in late September, one in mid-October, and an any moose season in a couple southern units in November. These any moose permits are in an area with low moose densities. With landowner recommendations, they run these seasons in conjunction with the November firearm deer season to try and increase hunter success. The September season is the best to catch bulls rutting, but it can be difficult with warm temperatures. This season is the best to find bulls receptive to moose calls. The October season is a bit too late for rutting activity, but most of the foliage has fallen off the trees, making it easier to navigate the old clear-cuts and extend your visibility in the brush. In 2021, 2,607 hunters were successful in harvesting a moose out of the 3,969 total permittees. This overall success rate was 66%. In 2021, the units that offered a September and October bull hunt were 1-6, 10, 11, 18, 19, and 27/28. Traditionally, success rates are similar between the September and October seasons, but in 2021, with the exception of unit 3 where they were pretty much equal, the September season showed a greater success rate.
The adaptive hunting unit is a fairly new concept where MDIFW is currently conducting a multiphase management study. The study began in 2019 and is slated to run until 2025. The first portion of the study was to assess the current population as well as collar 60 moose calves. Beginning in 2021, the harvest of moose took place to reduce the population density. If found that an increased harvest leads to lower winter ticks and healthier moose populations, we can expect to see studies like this spread across the state. Currently, the hunt is only for cow moose. There are three seasons, October first week 10/17-10/22/2022, which will have 200 cow permits; October second week 10/24-10/29/2022, which will have 150 cow permits; and November third week 10/31-11/5/2022, which will have 200 cow permits. In 2021, harvest success was 52% overall with 57% on the first hunt, 59% on the second hunt, and 41% on the third hunt. These permits are eligible for the moose swap. For more info about the adaptive unit moose hunt, visit www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/adaptive-unit-moose-hunt.html. Maine continues to offer a unique chance to hunt Canadian moose within the U.S. and is inexpensive to apply for. Although the draw odds are horrible, it’s only a $15 minimum to enter. If you end up getting lucky this year, give us a call and we can get you in touch with some of the best moose outfitters in the state.
For access to all of our research and data we've collected over the last 20+ years, then join today and access the best research tools for hunting Moose in Maine including 3D Maps, Draw Odds, Consultations and much more. Go on more hunts with better information!
Search our database of Maine Moose opportunities.
Our online/print magazine has everything in one location: Application info, draw details and odds, fees, hunter requirements, point structure, age restrictions, youth information, weapon restrictions, other tag opportunities, hunt planning and much more. If you would like access to all of our research join today!
Maine Moose Hunting Articles from Huntin' Fool Magazine