Some prospective moose hunters — especially those who’ve had their names drawn in the state-run permit lottery — have specific goals in mind when they apply each year.
They might only pick one or two Wildlife Management Districs that they’re willing to hunt, and may only choose to shoot a bull. And they might only want to hunt during the September season.
Fortunately, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife allows all of us to be very picky about the hunt we’re seeking. We get to choose from all of those categories. The pickier we get, however, the lower our odds of going moose hunting.
But there are plenty of folks out there who just want to go on one moose hunt. Somewhere. Anywhere. And they’re not picky at all about whether they’ve got to hunt bulls during the rut or cows in November.
Maybe they’ve been applying every year since 1980’s experimental season was held. And now, more than 30 years later, those prospective hunters are still waiting for a chance to bag a moose.
And suppose that on June 14, their lucky ticket is finally drawn when the DIF&W stages its annual lottery, this year at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.
Our lucky hunter checks the list, thrilled. Then they find out that instead of receiving a September bull permit for their home zone — the permit they have secretly dreamed of for decades — they’ve earned themselves an October cow hunt 200 miles away.
For some, that long-awaited hunt-of-a-lifetime can become an expensive logistical nightmare.
If that’s the case for you or your favorite hunter, don’t fret. The Maine Professional Guides Association has come up with a solution that comes in handy for plenty of hunters each year.
If you have a permit, but it’s not exactly the kind you want, the state will allow you to swap your tag with someone who has a permit for your dream zone. And thanks to the MPGA’s handy permit-swapping website — mooseswap.com — there’s a good chance that you’ll find the match you seek.
“This service to Maine’s moose hunters comes from the [MPGA’s] commitment to every moose hunter having the hunt of a lifetime,” according to a MPGA press release. “Being drawn in the moose permit lottery is an all-too-rare event and hunters frequently receive permits in zones that they are not familiar with or [do] not want to hunt.”
Here’s how mooseswap.com works: First, you have to know the details about the hunt that you’ve earned a permit for. Among those particulars: Zone, season, and whether you’re required to target bulls or antlerless moose. Mooseswap.com will charge you $39.95 to become a member of the group and access their database.
At that point, you’ll be allowed to set up and search for the exact zone and hunt you’re looking for. Mooseswap.com will send you an automatic email every time a new member joins and has the kind of permit you’re seeking.
After finding a match, you’ll contact the other permit-holder and work out the details.
According to the press release, the actual swaps will take place at the DIF&W headquarters in Augusta. Unless both permit-holders have paid for their permits, swapping isn’t allowed. All swaps must be made before the start of the September hunt.
Sounds easy, right?
And after that, all you’ve got to do is head afield during the season of your choice and make some memories that will truly last a lifetime.
Good luck to all prospective moose hunters.