A 77-year old Boothbay grandmother is making “moose” tracks for the Allagash this fall. This is the third time Dawn Gilbert has won a permit in Maine’s annual moose lottery. This spring, Gilbert spent $15 on a lottery ticket and last month was one of the lucky 2,770 Maine residents receiving permits. Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries received 59,185 moose permit applications this year.
This will be Gilbert’s fourth moose hunt. The previous three times she went with her husband Shannon Gilbert, a longtime hunter, who died in 2016. This year’s moose hunt will still be a family affair as her grandsons, Kevin Brooks and Justin Brooks, and great-grandson, Parker McFarland, will accompany her to the Allagash Oct. 12-17. Gilbert didn’t know she won the moose lottery until a call from her grandson, Kevin Brooks. “Meme, guess what? You won the moose lottery,” Gilbert recalled.
In her previous three moose hunts, Shannon Gilbert shot two moose. Gilbert is an experienced hunter as she began as a child hunting with her family for birds and deer. “The whole family got up early on Saturdays, and it was a lot of fun being in the woods hunting, and being with everyone,” she said.
She is now sharing the family tradition of hunting with a new generation. She is excited about participating in another moose hunt especially with her grandchildren and great-grandchild.. “They’ve never been on a moose hunt, and they’re all excited,” she said. “I’m excited, just seeing how excited they are.”
Both Kevin and Justin Brooks are experienced hunters. The two have hunted for birds and deer for years. “I’ve hunted since I was 10, and tried to win the lottery for the past five years, but I’ve never been moose hunting so this is definitely a real thrill,” Kevin Brooks said. The Allagash is also full of deer and birds so Kevin Brooks will bring his bow to hunt in this game-rich area. Gilbert remembers her husband shooting moose on the first day of hunting season in previous trips. “Now, he was a hunter, no question about it. After he shot the moose, we stuck around for the rest of the week in the woods. It’s always a great time.”
The Boothbay hunters will head for Track Down Kennels and Lodge in Wallagash on Oct. 11. Gilbert described the road trip as a five-hour-plus drive to northern Maine. Gilbert’s crew will survey the land for trails, logging roads and other prime locations for spotting game.