For the 4,080 hunters who will be awarded a permit in the Maine moose lottery on Saturday, it’s worth stating the obvious: the largest of cervids has a big nose.

That’s important to remember as the moose hunt enters its 42nd year because Maine guides say moose have become a more elusive quarry.

“Now people need to use attraction (techniques). Bring the animal to them. Moose have phenomenal noses. They don’t see well, but they’ve got that big schnoz on them and you’ve got to be downwind of them. You’ve got to be smarter, to be successful,” said Registered Maine Guide Roger Lambert, the lottery’s longtime moose calling contest master of ceremony.

When the annual lottery kicks off in Jackman on Saturday – after two years of being held as a virtual event because of the coronavirus pandemic – it will feature tips and guidance on moose hunting, moose-calling lessons and even moose-turd art as part of a daylong festival. Winners of the moose-hunting permits will be announced from 2-5 p.m.

The state increased the number of moose permits for this fall’s hunt by just 50 to 4,080, which includes 550 in a small area of northwestern Maine where biologists are in the second year of a five-year study to see if increasing the moose harvest in a targeted area will decrease the winter tick parasite on moose there.

Last year, 4,030 permits were allotted and 2,607 moose were harvested.

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The moose lottery moves around the state each spring to a different host city or town. Before the pandemic, it was held in Scarborough in 2019, Skowhegan in 2018 and Caribou in 2017.

This year, there will be ax throwing, crosscut-saw demonstrations, moose hunting seminars and the annual moose-calling contest. In 2018, the contest was followed by a world-record attempt and more than 1,000 people in the Skowhegan Fairground grandstand helped Maine gain entry into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people calling a moose at once.

“In Skowhegan there were 5,000 people there. I bet there were 2,000 in the stands. We certified 1,200 for the record,” said Lambert, who led the world-record attempt.

New this year will be a comedy show performed by Mid coast moose-turd artist Mary Winchenbach, who appeared on TruTV in the show “Tirdy Works,” the moose products company of the same name that Winchenbach and her wife, Deb Nicholls, grew into a thriving cottage industry in 2018.

That year, Winchenbach was featured on television and radio shows across the country after a video of her hawking her moose-turd art at the Common Ground Fair went viral. In 2020, the first season of “Tirdy Works” made its debut.

“Absolutely there is a chance for a season two. At least, we’re all hoping so,” said Winchenbach, who performs her comedy act around Maine. “Tirds are still selling well, especially wholesale orders. We’re shipping (expletive) everywhere.”


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