The weather in early fall has been quite variable in recent years, which has often posed challenges for participants in the annual Maine moose hunt.
This year the conditions were exceptional and certainly benefited the hunters who were in the field for the first week of the 2021 season.
âIt’s been a great week,â said Lee Kantar, moose biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. âIt seems like there have been a lot of falls since we saw chilly evenings, which brings us chilly mornings.
According to the DIF & W Big Game Harvest Dashboard, over 800 moose were harvested during the six-day session. The unofficial total listed on the website Monday morning was 818.
The DIF & W awarded 1,050 permits for the opening week, spread across 11 different wildlife management districts, including WMD 1-6, 10-11, 18-19 and 27-28.
This means that about 77% of hunters cashed in last week.
âI saw big bulls, I saw beautiful bulls,â Kantar said.
âThere are a ton of moose that have arrived. The success rates seem quite robust, âhe added.
Kantar, who spent time checking moose at the tagging station in Fort Kent, saw large sets of antlers and large moose. They included two 60 inch bulls.
âWhen you start to see them coming in over 50, 55 inches, that’s a big gap and certainly 60 is pretty big,â he said, mentioning that there was also a lot of wood that exhibited a special character and color.
A total of 4,030 hunters have obtained licenses to hunt moose in Maine this year.
ADM 1 produced the highest catch of 169 moose in week 1, followed by ADM 4 (152) and ADM 2 (126).
The highest success rate of 88 percent was recorded in ADM 6 and 11, while the least productive area in percentage was ADM 14 at 70 percent.
Above all, the weather was conducive to moose emergence and activity and gave the hunters the opportunity to settle in and call.
âThe main thing is the cooler temperatures and it seems less and less predictable. It’s been a good week for everyone, I think, âKantar said.
Here is the distribution with hunting and harvesting zone:
Last year, despite warm temperatures that are generally not conducive to hunting, 81 percent of hunters licensed for the first six days of the season shot a moose.
This was a precursor to overall hunter success in the 2020 season when 76% caught a moose. This is the best harvest rate since 2012.
Moose Hunt 2021 Week 2 begins Monday, October 11. Open weapons of mass destruction include 1-14, 17-19, 27 and 28.