Maine moose hunt is enterprise as normal throughout pandemic

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Eli Shegog, left, and George Shegog of New Harmony, Ohio, hunted a distant part Maine close to the Canadian border the final week of September – once they harvested a 826-pound bull, guided by Grasp Maine Information Ron Fournier. Picture courtesy of Ron Fournier

By all accounts, the Maine moose hunt that started within the far north in late September and strikes to the midsection of the state round Greenville, Bethel, Rangeley and Millinocket on Monday, is enterprise as normal this yr, regardless of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier than the Maine moose lottery in June – when 3,135 permits have been drawn (315 greater than final yr) – many guides questioned what would occur with the big-game hunt during which many non-resident hunters rent guides to guarantee success. However the annual hunt has gone off with no hitch, guides and hunters say. 

“Individuals don’t appear to be too involved about COVID out within the woods, within the open air,” mentioned Registered Maine Information Chris Colligan of Levant. “Hunters are the unique social distancers. Truthfully, the fellows I ran throughout (through the first week of the moose hunt), the virus was the very last thing on their minds.”

Richard Theriault, a part-time information in Millinocket, mentioned within the coronary heart of moose nation the place he lives, the custom and tradition of the enduring hunt endures in 2020 because it at all times has.

“Moose looking is a once-in-a-lifetime factor when you’re fortunate sufficient to be drawn for a allow,” Theriault mentioned. “I’m simply getting back from scouting. It ought to be a great season.”

This yr, out of three,135 allow winners, 252 are out-of-state hunters. Of these, about half – or 112 – are hunters from states required by Maine to both quarantine for 14 days or have a unfavourable COVID-19 take a look at that was “collected not more than 72 hours earlier than arriving in Maine,” based on a state web site.

Not less than one non-resident hunter mentioned Maine’s requirement of the unfavourable COVID take a look at was “overkill.”

“I perceive it is a severe sickness. However I additionally suppose the media has blown it manner out of proportion,” mentioned Chad Bowman of Westerville, Ohio, who begins his moose hunt in Jackman on Monday. “I get examined on the Veterans middle, and I’ll earlier than I drive to Maine. They mentioned I’m wonderful.”

Bowman mentioned after placing in for a Maine moose allow for 9 years, he deliberate a complete trip round his Maine moose hunt. He and his spouse, Stephanie, deliberate to drive and keep alongside the southern Maine coast for 4 days earlier than the hunt.

“I simply love Maine. We’ll spend some huge cash in your state,” Bowman mentioned. “If I get a moose this yr, I’ll have a Maine taxidermist mount it. We’ve been to Maine a dozen instances. I wouldn’t thoughts dwelling there.”

Others took a special strategy. Grasp Maine Information Ron Fournier mentioned the 2 Ohio hunters he guided the final week of September – Greg and Eli Shegog from New Harmony, Ohio – quarantined in far northern Maine earlier than and through their hunt, a keep simply shy of two weeks. He mentioned the father-son looking crew took social distancing critically, and Fournier was comfy interacting with them.

“We took precautions with regard to COVID together with quarantining, driving in separate automobiles, and easily paid consideration to regular smart hygiene practices that everybody has been doing for months,” Fournier mentioned. “As a result of remoteness of our hunt and our looking camp being arrange with simply the hunters and myself, we eradicated danger nearly utterly. I personally was examined earlier than the hunt and once more after.”

The explanations COVID isn’t an enormous subject for moose hunters and guides goes to the distant, and remoted nature of the hunt. To begin, guides say yearly 80 to 90 % of out-of-state moose hunters drive to Maine, slightly than flying, in order that they will transport the wild recreation meat again house in coolers – as a lot as 300 kilos or extra – assuming they’ve a profitable hunt. 

Additionally, shared automobiles between guides and hunters have by no means been a part of the moose hunt custom, largely as a result of most hunters carry different household and buddy on the hunt. So that they sometimes observe behind the information in their very own automobile.

“The North Woods are in all probability the most secure place to be proper now. I’m not too involved,” mentioned Invoice Poole of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who will go on his first Maine moose hunt this week.

Poole had a COVID take a look at scheduled for final week, earlier than he left Pennsylvania. After experiencing a moose hunt in Newfoundland, he didn’t intend to surrender his Maine moose hunt when he gained a allow – and went to the Maine CDC web site to guarantee he would observe the state’s security protocols.

Nevertheless, Colligan, the Levant information, mentioned the required take a look at shouldn’t be at all times talked about. He guided two events the primary week of the hunt – one from Pennsylvania. He didn’t ask them in the event that they have been examined, and Colligan mentioned it didn’t come up.

“It’s their duty to do this. I’m not likely inclined to query them about medical stuff. I do ask them to journey in their very own automobile,” Levant mentioned. “I’ve household in Massachusetts and a few of their associates got here as much as keep within the southern a part of the state this summer time. All of them mentioned no one requested if they’d a take a look at. I don’t suppose a variety of asking is happening anyplace in Maine.”

A crew of 4 hunters from Maine and New Hampshire who camped in northern Maine the primary week of the hunt agreed with that. They introduced in their very own fuel, water, meals and loads of spare tires and camped in canvas tents greater than two hours from the closest paved street. The 5 associates hardly ever noticed different hunters – and by no means got here inside 10 ft of one other hunter once they did, mentioned Henry Moncrief of Alstead, New Hampshire.

Moncrief, a Registered Maine Information, known as it “a 12-day detox from the craziness of the world.”

“Going to the grocery retailer to get meals was the riskiest a part of it,” Moncrief mentioned. “Apart from that, we have been remoted and disconnected from the world. It was a lot wanted.”

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