The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) noted last week that the preliminary numbers are in and it looks as though moose hunters were more successful in 2015 than in 2014, and Maine’s moose population looks healthy!
Approximately 2,200 hunters harvested a moose in 2015, an 80 percent success rate for the 2,740 permits issued. This is up from 2014, when 2,022 of 3,095 hunters were successful for a 65 percent success rate. With approximately 12 percent fewer permits issued in 2015 than 2014, approximately 180 more moose hunters were successful in 2015.
“The numbers are still preliminary, but it looks as though better hunting weather, later seasons an d fewer permits all contributed to a higher success rate for moose hunters,” said Lee Kantar, moose biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “We had a number of moose that weighed in excess of 1,000 pounds. The moose we examined looked very healthy, with good percentage of body fat stored for the winter.”
The IFW said Maine’s moose hunt is designed to manage the moose population. By modifying the number and type of moose permits available to hunters, the department can 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. On average, an 850-pound field dressed moose will provide over 450 pounds of meat, according to the IFW.
The preliminary harvest results are calculated through biological data collected at moose registration stations during the September, October and November moose hunt seasons.
“Each year at moose registration stations, we examine over 90 percent of the moose that are harvested. By comparing the data to years past, we can get a fairly accurate estimate of how many hunters were successful,” said Kantar, who added that a final harvest number on the moose hunt would be completed by the end of January.
Moose hunting in Maine continues to be extremely popular, with over 52,374 hunters applying to the moose lottery for a chance to hunt moose.
For more information, visit the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website.