In the annals of North American big game hunting, nothing, in my opinion — not even a Rocky Mountain Colorado elk hunt — eclipses a Maine moose hunt in the North Woods. Having done both, a number of times, I speak from personal experience.

V. Paul Reynolds, Outdoors Columnist

There is a qualifier: A Maine moose hunt trumps a Colorado elk hunt only if the Maine moose hunt is done properly.

Doing it right means getting out of the truck and off the roads. It means getting out in the clear cuts, or hunting from a canoe near water and lowlands, where the big ones hang out. It is bringing the meat out in quarters and getting that unmatched protein to the processor or a cooler as soon as possible.

Hunting a Maine moose, whether cow or bull, is as advertised, “the hunt of a lifetime.” So anyone lucky enough to draw a Maine moose tag would be wise to make the most of this wonderful “gift” and do a lot of hunt research and pre-hunt preparation.

Aside from the worthiness of the actual moose hunt experience itself, the wild meat is the frosting on the cake and, for my money, is as good as it gets. Don’t get me wrong. An elk back strap is extraordinary table fare, but Maine moose meat is the ultimate wild meat and has a unique texture that is mouthwatering and uncommonly flavorful.

For years, Maine residents have enjoyed the preferential opportunity to get the best odds on winning a moose hunting permit through the annual lottery. (Only 5% of the available permits go to non-residents). This year is no different, COVID or no COVID. The good news is that the 2021 moose lottery application process is officially open!

Applications for the moose permit lottery will be accepted online only. Here is an excerpt from the Maine Fish and Wildlife website about how to apply for a moose permit:

To apply online, go to and fill out the online moose permit application. There, you will be able to indicate several preferences, including which wildlife management districts (WMD) you are willing to accept a permit in, and if you would accept a permit in another WMD if your name is drawn and all of your top choices are filled. You will also be able to select your preferred hunting season, whether or not you would accept an antlerless permit, and your choice of a sub-permittee.

New in 2021 the Department is proposing an adaptive unit hunt to determine if lowering the moose population density in the western side of WMD 4 can lessen the impacts of winter tick. Applicants will be asked if they want to apply for an adaptive unit hunt permit when completing the application.

Applications must be completed by 11:59 pm (ET) on May 13, 2021.

The 2021 moose lottery permit drawing will take place June 12, 2021.

For more information about moose hunting in Maine and the moose permit lottery, visit:

V. Paul Reynolds is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine guide and host of a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” heard at 7 p.m. Sundays on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He has authored three books; online purchase information is available at 

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