The week that Brian Slattery of Yonkers, New York, spent moose hunting in Washington County in 2009 was one of the best of his life. He hopes to come back to Maine again this fall, if he’s lucky enough to win a moose permit in Saturday’s lottery drawing at the Kittery Trading Post.

“I had only been to Maine one other time, for the boat show in Portland,” said Slattery, 50. “This was a whole different game, hunting near Machias.”

Not too far away in Massapequa Park, New York, Ed Kohler also is hoping that his name is drawn Saturday – for the first time in 30 years. His daughters also have entered the moose lottery.

“I have entered for a gazillion years. My two girls just started last year,” said Kohler, 60, a retired New York City firefighter.

“I have a cousin in Maine I hunt with. I love it up there. I’m hoping to win one because of the fact we don’t have a moose population to hunt here.”

Out-of-state hunters receive nearly 10 percent of the permits allotted each year, and they’ll get 205 of the 2,140 moose permits available in 2016. Hunters from all 50 states, and as far away as Guam and New Zealand, have entered.


But year-in and year-out, the most entries outside Maine come from Pennsylvania and New York, according to a search of 15 years of moose permit applications from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Since 2001, Pennsylvania consistently has had 2,500 to 4,000 hunters enter the lottery, while New York has had 2,500 to 3,400.

This year, 35,100 Maine residents entered the lottery, up from 34,300 in 2015. Overall, entries increased by almost 1,700 to 48,900. However, lottery applications have been trending downward since 2001, when more than 85,200 people applied.

Each lottery entry costs $15, although nonresidents are allowed to buy 10 chances for $55.

With 13,800 out-of-state entries for 205 moose permits on Saturday, an out-of-state hunter with one entry has roughly 67-to-1 odds of winning a permit.

Martin Skovish Jr. of Schickshinny, Pennsylvania, is one of them, along with his brother and uncle.

“I like the big-woods experience that your state has to offer,” Skovish said. “Maine is close enough for me to get to in about 12 hours or so. Also my uncle Edward lives in Maine for part of the year and knows the areas we like to hunt, which is above the Golden Road between Millinocket and the Canadian border.”


Maine is allotting 675 fewer moose permits than in 2015, a 24 percent decrease. All of the reductions will take place in five of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts – four of them in northernmost Maine and the other Down East – as state biologists try to meet public demand for greater opportunities to view moose by increasing the population.

The state’s moose hunt is held at three different times in the fall: the last week of September in the far north, then in the second week of October around Moosehead Lake and Rangeley, and finally during November in southern hunting districts.

Many out-of-state permit winners hire a Registered Maine Guide to increase the likelihood of success. Needless to say, the hunt is not an inexpensive venture. But for 500 pounds of meat? Totally worth it.

“I tried moose meat one time and it was the best wild game I ever had,” said Slattery, the hunter from Yonkers. “I started looking for affordable ways to bring home all my meat. Driving to Maine with two 280-quart coolers in my truck was a big part of it.”

“I had a guide from Grand Lake Stream. I got a 700-pound young bull and brought home 400 pounds of clean meat.”

Alfred Lavigne, who lives 150 miles north of New York City in Mechanicville, has a brother in Maine whom he visits frequently. If his name is drawn Saturday, hunting moose in the north woods would still be the “thrill of a lifetime,” he said.

“We put in every year, me and my two sons. I have a brother in Maine but if we get one we’ll go with an outfitter. I wouldn’t put the pressure on my brother,” said Lavigne, 67, of his brother, Gerry Lavigne, a former state deer biologist.

“We are from a big hunting community (near Albany). Our whole family hunts. All my friends hunt and fish here.”


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