Ploye Festival and the Maine moose lottery drawing happening in Fort Kent

1 month ago

The atmosphere was full of celebration and anticipation Saturday morning in Fort Kent, the St. John Valley’s largest town on the border with Canada.

Opening ceremonies for the 2024 moose permit lottery will be held at 1 p.m. at Riverside Park, and the names of the 4,105 lucky people who were drawn for permits will be read starting at 1:15 p.m. The state received more than 72,000 applications in 2024.

Ploye Festival revelers had begun Friday with kids games involving ployes — Acadian flatbreads made of buckwheat — and the cooking of the world’s largest ploye that night, followed by a music performance by Isaac Leach.

Vendors, nonprofit organizations, various booths including the town selling moose lottery hats and shirts, events for kids including youth shoots and demonstrations by Axe Women Loggers of Maine were part of the festivities Saturday. A presentation by expert tracker Hal Blood was planned for noon.

People already sitting in the chairs where they would listen for their names to be announced in the afternoon as moose permit holders were treated to an informational session, including some history of the moose hunt, encouragement to scout early or make guide and lodging arrangements by guides, wardens and others. 

The speakers also encouraged people to take photos during and after their successful hunts.

“The best stories about the hunt may not be the kill,” said Chris Richards, who does the Moose Hunt Podcast. “Take your family and enjoy the experience.”

Richards will broadcast the drawing live in the afternoon.

The Bangor Daily News will be publishing the list of moose permit lottery winners here after the drawing is complete.

Sherry Plourde and Angela Coulombe, who work for the town of Fort Kent, worked at the town’s booth Saturday selling moose lottery T-shirts and hats. Credit:Julie Harris | BDN

Several people, including a young child who demonstrated her moose call, told hunting stories.

There also was a beer tent for the adults and jump houses for the children. The various booths were busy with visitors and customers, and music blared from speakers.

The Maine Warden Service’s Outdoor Partners program, which is charged with maintaining landowner relations to keep privately owned properties open to public access for outdoor recreation of all types, had a booth to educate hunters. Cpl. Andrew Smart said it was the first time the program has had a booth at an event such as this.

Operation Game Thief, one of the event’s sponsors, had an informational trailer on site.

In 2023, there were 72,446 applications for moose permits filed by residents and non-residents. There were 46,242 resident applications and 3,712 permits issued and 26,204 non-resident applications with 394 issued for a total of 4,106, which was an increase of 26 from 2022.

That made the resident selection rate 8 percent, approximately one permit for every 12 applicants; and the non-resident rate 1.5 percent, roughly 1 permit for every 67 applicants.