AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Lawmakers took up a hot button issue among sportsmen on Tuesday: should the state allow more moose hunting permits to be available to the public.
Hunters around Maine will be vying for those permits at the annual moose permit lottery in June. This year 4,110 permits will be up for grabs for hunters looking to bag a moose.
The state department of inland fisheries and wildlife rations the permits out each year. Officials say the number they give out is based on the amount and health of moose in Maine.
If passed, this new bill would increase the permit limit. Supporters say they feel the moose population could support an increase in hunters and that it would be good for the state's economy.
"The way we're thinking about doing it is in increments," said state senator Tom Seviello of Avon, who is sponsoring the bill, "I mean right now we have a great 85 percent success rate out there...which is great. I mean everybody just about that goes out gets a moose. This bill ultimately would drive it to a 35 percent success rate."
Yet some officials with the state department of inland fisheries and wildlife don't support the idea.
"The people want a certain number of moose on the landscape to both hunt and to view," remarked Lee Kantar who is a moose biologist for the state, " and you can't just have more and more and more permits because moose grow at a certain rate every year and in some years moose actually decline."
The bill was taken up on Tuesday by the inland fisheries and wildlife committee in Augusta. That group voted to pass it with some amendments. This years moose lottery will be held on June 15, 2013 in Greenville.