PRESQUE ISLE — More than 30 years after the modern moose hunt in Maine began, some hunters are still getting skunked. But not Ina Cyr of Presque Isle.

Cyr, 82, was the first hunter out of hundreds who attended the moose lottery Saturday to hear her name drawn. Cyr had entered every year since 1982 but never had been drawn.

Cyr, a former gatekeeper of the North Maine Woods, was thrilled when she heard her name announced at the University of Presque Isle. And some stood to applaud when she used a metal cane to make her way to the stage.

“My persistence paid off,” Cyr said. “I haven’t hunted in recent years because of medical reasons. I had a hip replacement and three other operations. But oh yes, I’ll go on this hunt.”

The lottery allocated 3,095 permits, a 25 percent drop from the number appropriated in February.

The number changed after biologists found numerous moose in a radio-telemetry study died from winter ticks.

A few hunters voiced concern over the winter-tick epidemic that has devastated the moose herd in New Hampshire, where permits were reduced from 675 a decade ago to 124 this year.

Frederick Reydell, who drove 11 hours from Plattsburgh, New York, said he was worried about Maine’s moose herd.

“We have moose in New York but not enough to have a hunt,” Reydell said.

“The ticks are a concern. We (process) deer (meat) and they’ve been terrible on the deer the last three to four years. The last two years they’ve been wicked on the deer.”

There were 53,577 applicants this year. Together with permits generated from the fall moose hunt, the lottery raised $1.2 million for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife – 3.5 percent of its $36 million budget, said a department spokesman, Mark Latti.

Permits to hunt a moose in Maine cost $52 for residents and $585 for nonresidents, who receive no more than 10 percent of the permits allocated.

Those application numbers have hovered around 50,000 the past five years, although a decade ago there were as many as 85,000 hunters in the lottery.

Yet 32 years since the modern hunt began in earnest, there are some Mainers who have put in nearly year and never been drawn.

A longtime sporting camp owner, Matt Libby Sr. of Ashland, whose sporting camp has been in his family for over a century, said his wife, Ellen, never has been drawn.

The Libbys drove two towns over to find out if Ellen would hear her name for the first time.

Meanwhile, Randy Huckins of Trescott Township in Washington County heard his name Saturday for the second time in 20 years but said his brother, Raymond, never has been drawn.

And Huckins said it’s tough to watch a native Mainer never get that coveted moose permit.

“He gave up a few years ago after putting in 15 years in a row. But now he’s putting in the last seven or eight years and hoping he gets one,” said Huckins, 57. “He gets aggravated about it. It’s surprising how some people have been picked three or four times, and others can’t get one.”

The newly crowned Maine moose calling champion, Eric Ward of Greenville, had only been drawn once after years of putting in, then let his daughter shoot his moose.

Ward was hoping he’d be drawn again Saturday.

“It’s not about me,” said Ward, 49.

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or at

[email protected]

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