AUGUSTA — With the preliminary numbers in, it looks as if moose hunters were more successful in 2015 than in 2014, and Maine's moose population looks healthy, the state’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
"We had a number of moose that weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds,” said Lee Kantar, moose biologist for IF&W, in a news release. “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 percent rate for the 2,740 permits issued. This is up from 2014, when 2,022 of 3,095 hunters shooting moose, for a 65 percent rate. With approximately 12 percent fewer permits issued in 2015 than 2014, approximately 180 more moose hunters shot moose in 2015.
“The numbers are still preliminary, but it looks as if better hunting weather, later seasons and fewer permits all contributed to a higher success rate for moose hunters,” said Kantar.
Maine’s moose hunt is designed to manage the moose population, said IF&W. By modifying the number and type of moose permits available to hunters, IF&W said it seeks to 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, the release said. On average, an 850-pound field dressed moose will provide more than 450 pounds of meat.
The preliminary harvest results are calculated through biological data collected at moose registration stations during the annual September, October and November moose hunt season.
Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with more than 52,374 hunters this year applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose.