Hundreds of hunters will take to the woods in northern and eastern Maine during the first week of the moose hunt, which begins just before sunrise Monday.

Murray Feist, Flickr

This year, the Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department has awarded more permits than ever before, thanks to an ample moose herd in the northern part of the state. Maine's total moose population is estimated to be nearly 70,000, which is about 6,000 fewer animals than roamed the woods two years ago, before hunting permits were increased.

The dates for Maine's 2013 moose hunting season are:

Monday, Sept. 23 - Saturday, Sept. 28 (bull permits only)

Monday, Oct. 14 - Saturday, Oct. 19 (bull & antlerless permits)

Monday, Nov. 4 - Saturday, Nov. 9  (antlerless permits)

November 2 - November 30. (any-moose permits)

A total of 4,110 hunters are eligible to take a moose over the course of the season. There are 950 hunters who have permits during the initial week of the season in northern and eastern Maine.