People’s joy and disappointment are the music of Maine’s moose permit drawing

1 month ago

The names of those who were successful in getting a Maine moose hunting permit through the state’s lottery were read one at a time Saturday afternoon in Riverside Park in Fort Kent.

Hundreds of people patiently waited to hear their own names, with the occasional shout of joy emanating from the crowd. People started out under a shelter, but by late afternoon there was a cool wind that drove them into the sun near the beer tent and vendors.

Approximately 25 people attending Saturday’s event were among the 4,105 names called out by the more than a dozen people who read the names.

Judy Camuso, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, read the first 100 names after thanking the Maine Warden Service Color Guard and Sadie Cairns, a 17-year-old Fort Kent High School student who sang the national anthems for the United States and Canada.

Camuso also announced that the 2025 drawing would be held in Farmington.

A total of 4,105 permits were awarded out of 72,126 moose permit applicants for 2024. There were successful candidates from 30 states besides Maine, including Alaska and Hawaii.

The annual moose permit lottery draws people from all over the country to Maine. The reading of the names has occurred at a different location each year since 1999. Before that, it was always in Augusta. Last year’s drawing was held in Augusta, but it was in Jackman in 2022.

Former commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Danny Martin was among the several people who read the names of people who won moose permits in the state’s annual lottery. Credit: Julie Harris | BDN

Among the others reading names were former MDIF&W Commissioner Danny Martin, who had brought the moose lottery to Fort Kent 15 years ago; Fort Kent Town Manager Suzie Paradis; state moose biologist Lee Kantar; former state Rep. Sue Bernard, R-Caribou; state Rep. Austin Theriault, R-Fort Kent; state Rep. Jim Thorne, R-Carmel; and Deb Hedeen, president and provost of the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

Keven and Susan Denis of Limington were happy their granddaughter, who will be 18 on June 23, got her first permit Saturday. She is the fourth grandchild to get her permit. 

Keven Denis said he has shot 10 moose over the years and his wife has shot three.

Keven’s first moose was a 28-pointer in 1999. The wall mount is in the couple’s bedroom because Susan’s and one of their two son’s moose are on the living room walls, he said.

They have two more grandchildren who have not gotten their moose permits yet, so they hope they can help them get their first moose, too.

“Then the great-grands are coming up,” said Susan, who mentioned they are just 4 and 6 years old.

The Denises focus on helping kids learn to hunt and fish. Outside of the family, they have provided 96 lifetime fishing licenses for kids through Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. Parents of those children have the option to upgrade the licenses to include hunting.

It’s a way the couple can memorialize their grandson Brandon, who died in a car crash six years ago at age 16.

“The kids get a backpack, pole and tackle box to go with the license, and they can fish right at SAM’s pond,” Keven said.

One other way he honors Brandon’s memory is by getting grand slams — a turkey, a bear, a deer and a moose in one year. He has gotten four in the past six years, finishing business for Brandon, who had wanted to reach that goal himself.