State

Bureau announces 2019 disabled veterans moose hunt lottery

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services is now accepting applications for the 2019 Disabled Veterans Controlled Moose Hunt, held annually on farmland specified by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife.

Since the program’s inception in 2010, MBVS has partnered with IF&W and Smoldering Lake Outfitters to issue hunting permits and essential equipment to participating veterans. This year, IF&W has allocated moose hunting permits for disabled veterans who are Maine residents of Maine — and a small group of non-resident disabled veterans — to participate in the controlled hunt.

The hunt differs from the regular IF&W moose lottery, as it requires each hunter to team up with a registered Maine Guide who has specific training and is open only to veterans with a disability rating of at least 50 percent. If a veteran has ever tagged a moose through the Disabled Veterans Controlled Moose Hunt, they are ineligible to hunt again. This year, there will be three hunts in August and two in September.

The hunt, which is entirely free for selected veterans, costs $50,000 to administer and is funded entirely through donations and sponsorships from local businesses, organizations and individuals. The public may also donate or sponsor the program. All funds raised help cover hunting guide services, essential adaptive equipment, meat processing, travel and lodging for participants.

“I can’t overstate how valuable this program is to our veterans,” said David Richmond, acting director of the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services. “Every year, veterans tell us just how much this experience impacts them. It’s more than just a fun memory; for many, it can be rehabilitating, getting to share an experience with other veterans and the fellowship that it brings.”

Roger Line, a Navy and Gulf War veteran, participated in the program in 2017.

“Shortly after arriving at Smoldering Lake Outfitters, owner Dave Hentosh told us ‘the moose is the excuse,’” Line said.

“We sat that evening in the great room sharing our military experiences and it did not take me long to figure out what exactly Dave meant.  Our service spanned Vietnam to the Persian Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We were five brothers-in-arms, brought together through a man’s vision with an excuse to relax and have the hunt of a lifetime.”

Applications must be submitted by mail or email to the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services, 117 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333 or mainebvs@maine.gov by 4 p.m. on Friday, May 3. Download forms at www.maine.gov/veterans. Results of the lottery will be posted no earlier than Friday, May 24.

For more information, visit: http://maine.gov/veterans/ or call 207-430-6035.

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