Each year we get asked what zones should you apply for? Thats a question that you are bound to hear many different answers, depending on who you ask. So much so, that at times the process can seam confusing. The thing to keep in mind is its a true lottery. Yes you can up your odds some by having bonus points built up from years of not drawing or buying more chances, but realistically, its still a lottery. We have known numerous folks who have drawn their very first year ever applying, including non-residents. Tom from Denver got lucky and drew his first year applying in 2016 and then he got even luckier when he harvested this 57.5″ stud with us last October! Read more about that hunt and all of our 2016 hunts here.
Then we also know some folks, residents and non, that have been waiting to be drawn for thirty years. I tell everybody just start applying and don’t ever skip a year! If you’re wives, husbands, or friends are willing… have them apply too! You gotta get in it to win it!
Our zone preferences stay pretty much the same each year. Sometimes I may prefer one zone over the other based on the number of permits issued that particular year, but pretty much they stay the same. We have guided hunts in many of the moose zones and that is one of the real advantages of hunting out of remote tent camps versus a fixed location lodge each Fall. We can set up one camp or multiple camps and hunt different zones for different seasons. For the most part, unless we have some non-typical weather pattern, our September season is the best season for calling. Bulls typically respond well to calls. The rut is in full swing. Many of the bulls will have cows, which we love, and the ones that don’t are on the move looking for one. September is also your best option if you wanted to attempt an archery hunt on a trophy bull. Really you can’t go wrong with any of the Northern September zones (1-6). They are all good! Our preference in order would be – zone 1,5,6,4,2,3 with my own personal preference of 1 and 5 in any order. Where we typically guide 1 and 5 is remote and it gives what I feel is an excellent overall experience for a Maine moose hunt and a superb chance at harvesting a trophy bull. Zones 1,2,4,5 are all located inside the gated North Maine Woods and this is a true woods hunt in the working timber land. You won’t see any paved roads or have cell phone reception during the hunt. Our zone 6 hunt takes place outside of the gated North Maine Woods. Instead of a tent camp, one of our guides has a beautiful cabin complete with satellite TV, that we host these hunts out of. During the zone 6 hunt you will have cell phone coverage, be on paved roads occasionally, and only a short ten minute ride to town if needed. This is a really good October zone as well. The woods have been cut differently in our part of zone 6 versus inside the North Maine Woods. That makes for a great October hunt, but be prepared to walk. Last October, Guide Joel, put his zone 6 hunter in front of roughly thirty bulls throughout the week with three bulls spotted measuring over 50″!! They also logged over 40 foot miles during the 6 days, but the hard work was well worth it.
The October season is generally a much harder hunt than September. Although it seems lately even the September hunts have been hard earned hunts, but usually during the October season you can expect to do even more walking than September. Bulls are not responding as well to calls in this later season. Instead of them coming to us, we often have to go to them using a different calling approach than just two weeks prior. Walking 4-7 or more miles a day is not uncommon during October. In the Northern zones the moose have just been hunted and called two weeks prior, so they tend to head deeper in the bush after the hunting pressure. There are bird hunters riding the logging roads in all zones during October and that puts extra pressure that push moose further into areas. That being said, October can still be a great hunt. In 2016 we ran 100% success on our October hunts. We have also harvested a couple of real studs the last two Octobers!!
In September we love the Northern Zones, but in October our order of preference starts with the Western Zones. Zones 8, 7, and 9 are stellar October zones. These zones do not have a September season and the bulls have not been hunted yet that year. Overall I would say the numbers of moose is not as high as the Northern Zones, but they tend to respond to calls better in these Western zones than they do in the Northern zones in October. That is the main reason why we prefer to go West in October if we can. Zone 7 and 9 are real sleeper Zones with excellent trophy quality that you don’t hear about as much. Zone 8 is where we got our start guiding and we have been there almost every moose season for the last twelve years. The terrain in these Western Zones is more elevated than the Northern Zones. Some areas are steeper. All of it is logging land, but occasionally you can pick up cell coverage during the hunts and if you need a trip into town its usually never further than twenty miles, versus fifty to ninety miles on our North Maine Woods hunts.
-Select as many chances as you want, but we only ever do one.
-Select September and October seasons only
-Select Bull permit only, that you will NOT accept an antlerless permit
-Select that you will accept any zone if your preferences are already filled
-Select zones 1,5,6,8,4,2,7,9,14,3 in that order
-If you would like to have a subpermittee listed on your hunt, you must enter all their information at this time. It can not be entered later. The subpermittee can harvest the moose and carry a weapon during the hunt, but the permit holder MUST be present at all times during the hunt. So if the wife or husband is not planning on being the actual hunter, but instead the subpermittee for an extra chance of having a tag drawn, the non-hunting wife or husband must be present during the hunt and in woods at all times even if they are not going to shoot the moose. You can also list an alternate subpermittee if you’d like, but in the end only up to two people (permittee and subpermittee can carry a weapon on the hunt and harvest 1 moose total) That being said, listing a subpermittee is not required and we actually encourage not listing one, but if you want one listed it must be done at the time of the application. Also to note, if you are applying for a permit in a non-hunting family members or friends name to increase your odds of being drawn with you listed as a subpermitte, the person who drew the permit must be able to obtain a hunting license and have completed a hunter safety course within about a month after the June drawing to purchase the permit.
The drawing will be held on June 17. Applications must be completed online by 11:59pm on May 15. Don’t wait though!! Do it before it slips your mind and it never fails…. if you wait until the last night the website will be so bogged down you may not get your application in. Also of note is no matter what zone you are drawn for, we can always try to get you swapped to a different zone of higher preference once drawn.We have lots of experience with this. The hard part is getting drawn and you should consider yourself extremely lucky if you are! The odds of being drawn are about 2-3%.
Registered Maine Guide