Each year, I hear from plenty of downhearted hunters who lament the fact they are unlucky in the state’s moose-hunting lottery.
And every one of them has committed a single year to memory.
“Been in every year since 1980,” they all say, shaking their heads and referring to the first year of Maine’s modern moose hunt.
That first drawing took place in ’80, and after a one-year-hiatus in 1981, it has been back every year since.
And though thousands of hunters have gone moose hunting over those 26 years, there are plenty more that are still waiting … and waiting … and waiting.
We’ve traveled down that path before, however. Today, let’s not dwell on what we don’t have. Instead, let’s dream a bit. Let’s think about how good it can be … if only that finicky state computer would cooperate.
Down in Addison, for instance, there’s a family that can tell you that it’s entirely possible for you to get very, very lucky next June.
Here’s what Ronald Ramsay had to say in an e-mail he sent last week:
“Our family received four moose permits this year,” Ramsay wrote. “My son Taylor (13), my wife Tracy, my brother Robert and [I] were all lucky enough to be drawn for bull permits.”
The only catch: None of the permits were for the same zone … which led to some extensive traveling for the Ramsay clan.
First up was Robert Ramsay. He tagged out on the first day of the September season with a 610-pound bull in Wildlife Management District 5. Next up was Taylor, who shot a 610-pound bull two days later in WMD 3.
It took Ronald Ramsay a few more days to cash in, but he did on Sunday, when he shot a 450-pound bull in WMD 19.
To illustrate the traveling necessary, WMD 5 sits just north of Baxter State Park, WMD 3 is at the extreme northeastern tip of the state, and WMD 19 rests south of Route 6 and stretches from Lee on its northwestern tip to Baileyville and the Canadian border in the southeast.
But that first-week success was just a precursor to the hunt the family enjoyed during the October season.
Up in WMD 4 (north of the Golden Road), the Ramsays bagged their biggest moose of the year.
“My wife Tracy shot her 890-pound, 66-inch-spread, trophy bull at 6:50 a.m. Monday morning in Zone 4 to complete our unbelievable streak of moose-hunting luck,” Ronald Ramsay wrote.
Quite a series of hunts, and quite a run of good fortune.
But read on. Even if your family doesn’t enjoy that kind of lottery luck, it doesn’t mean that your town won’t.
Another e-mail, from Maine Warden Sgt. Thomas Ward, itemized the efforts of three hunters from northern Maine.
Miranda Donovan, 15, Melinda Duval, and Amos Ward, 12, each tagged big bulls during the September season.
Ward shot a 930-pounder that sported a rack with a 53-inch spread on Monday; Donovan shot an 871-pounder with a 51-inch rack on Tuesday, and Duval shot an 895-pounder with a 49-inch rack on Saturday.
Thomas Ward, the proud father of Amos, finished up his e-mail with the nugget he knew would intrigue me, and others.
“Each of these hunters all passed up smaller bulls during their hunt and had family members with them,” Ward wrote. “The neat thing about this story is that they all are neighbors who live within a mile of each other on the Garfield Road in Masardis … population 285.”
So there you have it. This might not have been your year … again.
But somebody’s got to be lucky next year. Why not you … and your neighbors and relatives?
Bucksport forum on tap
If you’re looking to spend time with other outdoor enthusiasts and share your opinions with state decision-makers, you may want to head to Bucksport on Wednesday evening.
The Bucksmills Rod & Gun Club will host its annual sportsman’s forum, with dinner beginning at 6 p.m. and the informational forum to follow.
Sportsman’s forums are held across the state each year, and give folks the chance to hear what state fish and wildlife officials are up to, as well as to make suggestions to those who have the power to implement them.
One good example: Over the past few years one attendee of the Bucksport forum made a point of discussing the state’s Wildlife Management District format.
That attendee’s argument: Bucksport deserved to be in a WMD with other deer-rich towns like Holden and Dedham, rather than be grouped in a coastal zone with towns that had diminished deer herds.
This year, the state revamped its wildlife districts, and Bucksport was, indeed, placed in a newly reconfigured WMD 26.
Roland “Danny” Martin, the commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, is expected to attend, as are fisheries and wildlife biologists and representatives of the Maine Warden Service.
The meal costs $5, but those wishing to stop by just for the forum will get in free.
And having attended several of the Bucksport forums over the past few years, I can guarantee that nobody will leave with an empty belly, either.
John Holyoke can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 990-8214 or 1-800-310-8600.