In keeping with a long-standing Maine tradition, a few thousand hunters came to the annual moose lottery in Greenville to hear their names drawn Saturday.

And more than a few thousand people descended on Greenville before the lottery began, said Doug Rafferty, spokesman for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife holds the annual lottery each year in mid-June. And this year, for the first time, the number of permits allocated to hunters in the computerized drawing exceeded 4,000, with 10 percent going to out-of-state hunters.

The hunt is held by the state in an effort to cull the statewide moose population, now estimated to be 76,000.

The fall moose hunt runs from mid-September to mid-November, and is held in different parts of the state at different times. The hunt covers 25 wildlife management districts, an area that covers 21,000 square miles.

The modern Maine moose hunt was reintroduced in 1980 to help manage the moose population in order to decrease automobile accidents with the huge animals and also to minimize disease in the herd.

After a successful first year, the hunt resumed for good in 1982, and has grown ever since.

For more than a decade the annual moose lottery has moved around the state.

The moose permit drawing has been held as far south as Kittery and up in Presque Isle, as well as Bucksport, Phippsburg, Old Town, Scarborough and Freeport.

In recent years, the lottery has been the focal point of a multi-day moose festival with games, demonstrations, wild game buffets, derbies and lessons in outdoor sports taking place the day leading up to the lottery.

After the village of Oquossoc turned the lottery into a three-day festival last year, Greenville continued the tradition this year.

Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

dfleming@pressherald.com

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