AUGUSTA — To many, hunting a moose is “the hunt of a lifetime.”

Among those who attended the Moose Permit Lottery in Augusta on Saturday, many have been chosen at least once while others have waited years to have their name called.

“A moose hunt is a different experience,” said Roger Lambert, a master guide with the Maine Guide Service. “It is phenomenal. Families, and friends, get involved. It’s like a festival atmosphere.”

Lambert said it can take many people to help with the hunt – people need to scope out hunting spots, butcher the meat and someone needs to bring a cooler that will hold nearly 300 lbs. of meat.

Lambert got his first moose almost 40 years ago – he doesn’t participate in the lottery anymore. Only around 5%, or 4,106, win a moose permit each year.

“It’s a really big deal to get a moose permit,” said Emily MacCabe, who does communications and digital marketing for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “To get a chance to go on the hunt, to a lot of people, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”


Irving McKay, left, of Kenduskeag and others clap for children trying moose calls Saturday during the state’s annual moose permit lottery at Augusta’s Mill Park. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The 4,106 names were called at the Augusta Moose Festival, a yearly event that attracts thousands hoping their name will be called.

This year’s lottery started with the highest number of hopefuls since 2003, with nearly 73,000 people from Maine and elsewhere, according to IFW. People from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Nevada, and Tennessee won permits.

The department assigns winners to hunt in one of 29 zones statewide. To be eligible, the hunter must at least be 10 years old, have a hunting license, and comply with hunter safety laws. Yearly winners must wait three years to enter the lottery again.

Troy and Ashlee McCormick traveled from Wilton with their dog, Chaos, to find out whether their names would be called. Both are long-time hunters and Ashlee McCormick had her name called three years ago. They have entered for the past 13 years.

“It was indescribable,” Ashlee McCormick said of bagging a moose. Her husband said he “feels lucky” to have his name called this year.

Also from Wilton were Kathy and Jerry Woodman, who have been married for 50 years and have hunted most of their lives. Two years ago, Kathy Woodman won a permit in Zone 7, the Stratton area, and shot a 786-pound moose. The couple went together and hired a Maine guide who helped them find the animal with a moose call that had the moose “come running.”


Kathy Woodman only hunts moose, but her husband hunts everything – they both enjoy hunting moose the best.

Janie Barabe, left, Melissa Rivard and Bob Willey sit in chairs Saturday overlooking the Moose Hunting Permit Drawing in Augusta’s Mill Park. The group from Topsham said they set up along Canal Street at 9:30 a.m. for the 2 p.m. draw to see if Rivard and other relatives got a permit this year. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The moose hunt helps control the moose population, especially given winter tick infestations over the past few years, said Lee Kantar, a moose biologist with IFW. Around 2,500 moose are killed each year.

The moose hunt helps control the moose population, especially given winter tick infestations over the past few years, said Lee Kantar, a moose biologist with IFW. Around 2,500 moose are killed each year.

Terri and Jason Williams are both Maine guides and use their skills to help people who stay at their hunting lodge, Rustic Retreat. They have visitors from Georgia, Pennsylvania, and of course, Maine.

Terri Williams has twice won a permit and last year, got a bull moose in the last hour of her allotted time. She and her husband are long-time hunters. Jason Williams has yet to get a moose but helped Terri during her hunt – having a hunting partner is allowed with a moose permit.

“Hunting is just as much about the experience as it is the education,” said Terri Williams, adding that it’s a way to learn about conservation and the Maine environment.

Event organizers estimated just over 1,000 people attended Augusta’s event Saturday.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.