Jun. 11—The moose permit lottery has for many years served as a harbinger of summer in Maine.
Hunters with an eye on pursuing the state's largest game animal, and the guides and camp owners who benefit from the hunt, follow the event closely.
Over the years, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has tried to capitalize on that keen interest by creating a festive atmosphere for the announcement of the permit winners where everyone can join in on the fun.
This year though, folks will again have to generate their own enthusiasm for the drawing. For the second year in a row, the state will conduct its moose permit lottery virtually.
The Jackman Region Moose Lottery and Festival, originally scheduled for 2020, will have to wait until 2022 when, hopefully, the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.
That's not to say there won't be plenty of hooting, hollering and high-fiving on Saturday in households across Maine, and beyond.
The DIF&W's virtual broadcast, originating from its offices in Augusta, will air beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday. You can watch the live reading of each and every lucky permit winner's name on the Bangor Daily News website. It also will be viewable on the DIF&W website.
Emily MacCabe, the DIF&W's director of information and education, said department representatives will take turns reading the name of every permit winner, which will be simultaneously displayed on the screen. There also will be an online chat to help create an interactive process.
"Viewers can ask questions in the chat and we have a team of staff who help respond to questions as much as possible," MacCabe said. "We take short breaks throughout and share some interesting trivia or other messaging relevant to the audience."
For example, if someone thinks they heard their name, but isn't sure, they can ask in the chat and a staff member will be able to check.
Once the drawing is complete, the BDN will publish the entire list on our website, in an easy-to-search format, where you can find out whether you have been drawn for this special Maine hunting opportunity.
More than 3,800 people tuned in to the 2020 permit lottery broadcast and almost 25,000 people went back and watched the proceedings after the fact, according to the DIF&W.
Moose hunters who have questions about various dynamics associated with the hunt also are welcome to stick around after the names are revealed for a live information session.
Permit winners can find out details such as how they will receive their permits and how to swap with another hunter for a different week or a different zone, if they wish to do so.
Saturday's annual moose lottery activities will begin with an educational component as the DIF&W is a virtual presentation, "The Marvelous Moose of Maine," which will air live here starting at 9 a.m. from the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray.
"It's geared towards the general public, including children, to learn more about moose in Maine," MacCabe said.