CONCORD, N.H. — Ronald Tremblay, who has entered the New Hampshire lottery for a moose permit for more than a decade, was so excited to hear his name called Friday that he couldn’t recall which of the state’s hunting regions his permit is good for. He just beamed.
“I was just waiting for my name,” said Tremblay, a Hooksett resident. “I’m 73. I don’t know how much longer I’ve got.”
The assembly room at the state Fish & Game headquarters in Concord was standing room only as hopeful hunters gathered to hear the 275 winners of moose hunting permits announced. They were vying against 13,137 applicants, including nearly 5,000 from out-of-state.
Fish and Game officials said odds of an in-state applicant winning one of the 235 permits set aside for residents were 1 in 35. Odds for non-residents – with 40 permits at stake – were 1 to 121.
Gov. Maggie Hassan kicked off the annual ritual, saying hunting is emblematic of New Hampshire residents’ culture and love of the outdoors.
“I think this lottery is an important part of our tradition and culture and our economy,” Hassan said before pushing a computer keyboard key that set the random drawing in motion. A printer spit out lists of the names drawn for each of the state’s wildlife management units. Officials, including Hassan, took turns reading off the names.
Beth Johnson-Crawford of Derry was the first of several hundred in the room to hear her name called. She let out a joyous whoop and hugged her husband, William, who won a permit in 2006.
“I’m excited to have my own,” she exclaimed.
She was in her husband’s hunting party in 2006, when they bagged a female moose. “We had delicious eating for a long time.”
Johnson-Crawford said she was impressed at how many women’s names were drawn this year.
Tremblay said he doesn’t know who’s going to be in his hunting party yet, but relishes the choice.
“I’m gonna have a lot of friends now,” he said.
New Hampshire has an annual moose hunt since 1988, when 75 permits were issued for a three-day hunting season in the North Country.
This year’s hunt runs from Oct. 19 to 27.