Maine Deer:  An estimated  210,000 deer in mid 2017, about the same in 2016 and 211,000 deer in 2015.  The population has been supported by mild winters in 2015-16 and 2016-17.  Deer permits increased for 2016-17 and 2017-18.   About 220,000 deer in 2014.  An estimated deer population of about 275,000 in the late 1950's and during 1998 to 2000.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Maine deer hunting data and news archive. ...

Maine Deer News
  
  Disney's 'Bambi' benefited from Maine connections, Chinese artist July 19, 2017 Maine, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
... Partly because of Day’s influence, two white-tailed deer — orphaned fawns named Bambi and Faline — were sent by the Maine Development Commission to Hollywood by train for Disney animators to study ...

Deer feeding ban extended from June 1 to December 15 June 27, 2017  Bangor Daily News
... Current law prohibited deer feeding from September 10 to December 10. Here’s how they explained the new law: “the amendment expands the prohibition on baiting deer during an open hunting season on deer ...

2016 Deer Harvest Data is Out…Finally June 21, 2017 Maine, TomRemington.com
... the total deer harvest for 2016 rose to a meager 23,512 up slightly from the previous 2 seasons and down from 2013’s harvest... yet, MDIFW has announced they intend to increase the number of “Any-Deer Permits” up to over 66,000, an increase of 20,295 from last season ...

White-tailed herd OK following a mild winter June 21, 2017 Maine, Town Line
... The deer population in Maine is estimated at approximately 210,000, mostly in central and southern Maine. Although there are fewer deer in northern Maine ..,

Don't blame deer because ticks carry disease June 19, 2017 Maine, The Forecaster
"... Research in New England shows that when deer abundance is reduced, adult ticks crowd onto the remaining deer, so that there is little if any decline in total ticks on deer... Our studies in upstate New York show that Lyme disease risk is correlated with abundance of mice, but not with abundance of deer. Deer do not infect the ticks with Lyme disease bacteria, but mice and chipmunks do..." [Dr. Richard Ostfeld, a director of The Tick Project www.tickproject.org]

... Permits would increase dramatically in seven of 30 hunting districts, mostly in York County and in central Maine up along the coast to Belfast, where the white-tailed deer herd has rebounded dramatically after two mild winters ... The statewide deer herd was decimated during the harsh winters of 2008 and 2009 ...
     Maine's deer hunters to see another bump in permits June 1, 2017 Washington Times
... planning to offer more than 65,000 permits this year, an increase from last year’s total of more than 45,000, which itself was a 60 percent climb from the previous year... a few successively mild winters and haven’t had severe conditions for at least two years ..,

Legislature kills lots of deer bills May 31, 2017 Maine, Bangor Daily News
...  bills that are now dead... LD 1041 would have extended the no-shooting zone from paved ways to 100 feet ... LD 62 would have removed the ban on deer baiting ... LD 341 ... would have limited hunters to bucks with 3 or more tines of one inch or longer along the main beam ...

...  special shotgun hunt for three years did little to thin the whitetail herd... the Lyme disease problem ... “It’s not going to help shooting all the deer. It’s not going to get rid of it,” ... “Then you have all the birds and small animals who carry the ticks.” [research] ...

... The Eastern coyote has long been recognized by state biologists as a coyote-wolf hybrid, first documented in Maine in the early 1900s [not native] ...   about 8 percent wolf DNA becoming more “wolfy” ... hunters offer anecdotal evidence that coyotes can take down even large, healthy deer.

The search for shed antlers has become a popular pastime April 30, 2017 Maine, Press Herald
... Shed hunters are outdoorsmen and women who immerse themselves in the quiet of the woods in winter and spring to look for the antlers shed by moose and deer... Antlers have long been used as handles, tools and decorations...

Deer feeding ban and baiting penalties increased April 25, 2017 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... the committee amended LD 767 ... to prohibit deer feeding from June 1 to December 15... The current ban only covers the deer hunting seasons... amended bill ... will require a one year suspension of the hunting license for the first deer baiting offense ...

... would prohibit taking deer that do not have at least 3 tines of one inch or more along the main beam of one antler ... 2016 survey conducted by Responsive Management found that a majority of hunters in northern, eastern, and western Maine supported an APR law ...

New wolf hybrid takes hold in Maine April 11, 2017 WCSH-TV
...  the coyote was the wolf's prey. However, by 1919, the wolf viewed the smaller canid differently and the two began to mate ...

Protecting the deer yards April 8, 2017 Maine, Sun-Journal
... “a new normal” in Maine’s deer wintering areas. He believes that coyote predation pressure and more and more voluntary winter feeding programs by citizens is having an impact on deer wintering habits. (They are staying closer to town near the feed and away from coyotes) ...

... not only has the number of Big Bucks killed over the past 16 or so years decreased but ... the % of Big Bucks to the total harvest has not remained steady...  the number of Big Bucks and the percentage of total harvest dropped and essentially has remained low since at least 2008  [interesting graphs and data to support this analysis]

Man charged with cruelty in killing deer March 21, 2017 Maine, Press Herald
... charged with felony aggravated cruelty to animals ... The animal was shot while Mole was illegally night hunting, according to investigators. The deer was left to suffer during the night until Mole returned the following morning ...

... this was the 34th time a bill was proposed that would permit some form of Sunday hunting... If Sunday hunting should become a day of deer hunting added to the week, not only would the season length have to be shortened to prevent overkill, it would have to be shortened to compensate for the extra hunters that would hunt on that Sunday ...

Deer baiting gets lively debate at legislature March 9, 2017 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... Opponents of deer baiting use the argument “with the deer bunched up around bait, it may spread outbreaks of CWD or other diseases”. This again is a very weak argument. Whitetail deer group up every winter in suitable winter habitat (of which we have very little left) and in areas where they are being fed and have been fed for quite some time during the winter months...

Legislature kills deer bills March 8, 2017 Maine, George Smith Maine
... IFW’s Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso, speaking for the department. “The Department is opposed to the introduction of a mandatory antler point restriction because it may: 1) significantly decrease hunting opportunity, 2) result in high-grading of our buck population, and 3) do little in terms of actually providing a positive impact to the population demographics, or abundance, of Maine’s white-tailed deer,” ...

Bill to allow deer-baiting shot down in committee March 7, 2017 Maine, Press Herald
... baiting can concentrate the deer herd, making the animals more susceptible to chronic wasting disease ...  if baiting results in a higher hunting success rate, the deer season might have to be shortened or the number of any-deer permits might have to be reduced ...

They'll be hunting deer on March 2 at the legislature February 20, 2017 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... LD 62 ... An Act to Remove the Prohibition on Baiting Deer... LD 341...  limits deer hunters to harvesting bucks with 3 or more tines of one inch or longer along the main beam of either or both antlers... LD 555 ... to Allow Owners of 25 Acres of More of Land That Is Open to the Public for Hunting To Take Any Deer Without a Special Permit...

Wildlife Restoration Projects: Part II February 18, 2017 Maine, Lewiston Sun Journal
... Maine has tried twice unsuccessfully, once in 1963 and again in 1986-1990, to reintroduce caribou to our North Woods ... None of the caribou survived. They were either killed by predators, perished from brain worm, or simply moved ..,

Maine Moose Harvest for 2016 [PDF] February 17, 2017 
    For the 2016-17 Moose season there were 2,140 permits issued and 1,609 moose taken for a success rate of 75%

... LD 341, sponsored by Rep. Wadsworth of Hiram, An Act to Promote Deer Hunting. This bill would limit hunters to bucks with 3 or more tines of one inch or longer along the main beam of either or both antlers...

Maine revising game management plan February 4, 2017 Lewiston Sun Journal
... research findings  ...  91 percent support coyote control programs... The most important reason deer hunters gave for hunting was for meat (50 percent). Another 25 percent said they hunted deer for sport and challenge... [see Maine's 2016 Big Game Management Plan]

So many interests and opinions on managing deer January 29, 2017 Maine, Press Herald
... Maximum sustained yield (MSY) ... the maximum number of deer that can be removed from the population on a sustained basis... the population should be maintained at around 50 percent of the “carrying capacity,” ... optimum sustained yield, which occurs at about 60 to 70 percent of carrying capacity and best maximizes deer harvest and hunter satisfaction by providing more deer for harvest and for viewing...

Maine moose hunt success rate increased last fall January 25, 2017 Maine, Press Herald
... At least 1,533 moose were killed last fall in Maine for a success rate of 73 percent – up from the 2015 and 2014 hunting seasons.  The success rate was 72 percent in 2015 and 65 percent the previous year...

Deer herd was prepared for a rough winter January 22, 2017 Maine, Press Herald
... Thanks to a bumper crop of acorns, deer went into winter in great shape ...  Barring any major weather events the rest of the winter and over-liberal any-deer permit allotments, the herd should continue growing ...

Man spends thousands feeding deer in retirement January 17, 2017 Maine, wwlp.com
...  A retired man in Maine who used to hunt and eat deer is now spending thousands of dollars to feed them instead... spends $4,500 a year buying oats ...

... the reason Maine formulates 15-year management plans ... is because the Legislature ... tells them they must do this ...

New deer plan sure to be controversial December 22, 2016 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... to use regulated hunting, fishing and trapping as the basis for the management ... The Steering Committee had an extensive discussion about the department’s lack of success in convincing towns that are concerned about overpopulations of deer to allow hunting ... Some Steering Committee members think the agency must be more aggressive on this...

Excuses abound after scarce deer season December 19, 2016 Maine, Seacoast Online
... The word I have been getting around Southern Maine is that it wasn't a very good year for deer.  Reasons do vary from hunter to hunter ... weren't any more deer in their hunting areas as there were too many new houses that had been built...

We'll never hunt on Sunday in Maine December 9, 2016 Bangor Daily News
... Maine’s Sunday hunting prohibition was first enacted on February 28, 1883... SWOAM’s executive director, Tom Doak, testified, “... There is no single issue that would result in more loss of access to private land, for all purposes, than Sunday hunting.” ... Since [1981] 30 Sunday hunting bills were introduced and defeated.” ...

Eastport gets its special deer hunt, but for one year only November 21, 2016 Maine, Portland Press Herald
...Washington County in general has a low deer population, but on the islands the herds thrive. Schaeffer said a few years ago biologists had looked at adding any-deer permits along the coast, but after the severe winter of 2014-15 most of Washington County lost deer, so the idea was put on hold...

'Meat locker' research benefits Maine deer herd November 17, 2016 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... visited local butchers and gathered data on the deer they had hanging in their shops... antler beam diameters and average weights of yearling bucks, which help biologists decide if the available habitat is adequately supporting the number of deer on the landscape ... what you’re going to see is a reflection of the previous winter in that yearling crop ...

Annual deer hunts underway on Portland islands November 17, 2016 Maine, Press Herald
“These people aren’t wandering around aimlessly through the woods to find the deer ... The deer are coming to them.” ...The annual deer hunt has been happening since 2000 ...

Abundance of acorns: mice and ticks to follow November 16, 2016 Maine, Courier-Gazette & Camden Herald
... Dr. Richard Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y. spent several years researching the correlation between acorns, mice and ticks, and conducted experiments to predict Lyme disease risks... "In no case did inclusion of deer or climate variables improve the predictive power of models based on rodents, acorns, or both. We conclude that interannual variation in entomological risk of exposure to Lyme disease is correlated positively with prior abundance of key hosts for the immature stages of the tick vector and with critical food resources for those hosts," Otsfeld noted in the study...

Firearm season for deer begins Saturday, Oct. 29 October 27, 2016 Maine, Wiscasset Newspaper
... Following a 2016 winter that was on average warmer than usual, hunters should see more deer than last year. If normal hunting conditions and normal hunter effort prevail, IFW biologists believe that the deer harvest will be higher than last year’s 20,325 deer... Maine has over 225,000 licensed hunters, a number that has increased each of the past five years. ...

Nuts help both the hunters and hunted October 9, 2016 Maine, Press Herald
... studies have shown that where acorns occur, deer prefer them over all other natural food sources. ...  It takes white oaks one year to produce acorns... It takes red oaks two years to produce an acorn, and the drop is typically later and more protracted ...

Maine 2016 any-deer lottery winners September 9, 2016 Press Herald
... Over 41,300 people were successful in winning an any-deer permit in 2016 and of those, 39,169 were from Maine...

Winners of any-deer permits will be drawn tomorrow September 8, 2016 Maine, georgesoutdoornews.bangordailynews.com
... DIF&W, in its explanation of the overall statewide increase of 59% in permits, reported, “The winter of 2015-2016 was of below-average severity in most of the state, which resulted in higher survival rates for our over-wintering deer.” ...

Maine approves deer hunt permit increase August 29, 2016 Seacoast Online
... more than 45,000 of the permits issued this year... many deer survived the mild winter...

Meet the National Park Service's newest protected area August 25, 2016 Maine, Washington Post
... 87,000 acres of Maine wilderness donated by conservationist Roxanne Quimby ... It is teeming with wildlife: moose, black bears, coyotes, deer, bobcats, snowshoe hares, fisher cats, bald eagles and Canada lynx... Maine’s legislature passed a symbolic bill saying it didn’t consent to federal ownership of the land...

Three fawns playing and eating in our Maine backyard. What a thrill to watch them in the daylight! August 26, 2016 Maine


...  at Jamies Pond  ...  lands were acquired to be managed for wildlife ... Work is also being done on a deer wintering area to increase browse and patch openings in aspen-dominated areas to provide new habitat for grouse and woodcock... 

Big challenges ahead as new big game management plans are created August 18, 2016 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... Our failure to protect critical deer wintering habitat played a big role in the loss of our deer herd in the north woods. In fact, in the history of deer management, DIF&W reported that in Wildlife Management Districts 1 – 11, to meet their long term populations goals for deer, about 780,000 acres of deer wintering habitat would be needed. Currently there is only 258,000 acres of deer wintering habitat ...
... It’s illegal to shoot a firearm or install a tree stand within 100 yards of a dwelling or any of the town’s marked greenbelt trails. A tree stand must be clearly marked with the owner’s name and installed with straps only... finding a hunter’s tree stand bolted to a tree on her land...

Mild winter in Maine good for deer, deer hunters August 4, 2016 Bangor Daily News
... a proposal to increase any-deer permits by 59 percent over the 2015 total, to 45,775 ... “Over 90 percent of the proposed increase in allocation ,,, is going to occur in districts where we are already above goal in our deer population, or where we are approaching goal.” ... The most recent winter was warm, and deer fared well, leading to more deer on the landscape...

Any-deer permits increased a stunning 60% July 11, 2016 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... 45,755 ... any-deer permits this year, a 60 percent increase over last year’s 28,770 permits... “Last year’s winter was more moderate in many areas of the state, and the increase in the number of any deer permits reflect that.” ...

Teens plead guilty to poaching charges July 8, 2016 Maine, Lewiston Sun Journal
... Two of four teens charged with shooting four deer at night and leaving them to waste in Franklin and Androscoggin counties last year have pleaded guilty to that charge...

... For deer to survive Maine winters, work needs to be done to improve the winter shelter and to promote the softwood cover and expand the network of areas deer can use during the winter months, he said. There will also be a focus on improving acorns and other food sources for wildlife in the area...

... The doe doesn’t go far off, and visits her newborn fawn to feed. In most of the cases, people interfering in the process remove the fawn from its mother’s care, waiting to come back....

Pair of sham hearings left no room for listening June 5, 2016 Maine, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
...  the Maine Legislature’s joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife held its own “hearing” to consider allegations of misconduct by game wardens during undercover sting operations.  Both hearings were shams... Neither hearing allowed public comment... Both led to preordained conclusions...

Maine warden commander shuts down undercover operations June 1, 2016 Maine, Hastings Tribune
... A newspaper's lengthy investigation into allegations of misconduct in the Maine Warden Service led the agency's commander on Wednesday to halt undercover poaching operations ...
     Maine Warden Service cancels undercover work, blames media June 1, 2016 Maine, BangorDailyNews.com
... At issue is an investigative report published by the Maine Sunday Telegram/Portland Press Herald last month that delved into a 2-year-old case ... Colin Woodard, who wrote the article, told the Bangor Daily News last monththat he is confident about the veracity of the story. He said Wednesday that the whole situation calls into question how transparent state government is...

... questioned the necessity of a monument in a state-managed land system where 94 percent of state lands are privately owned and 17.7 million acres are forests. Of the 12 million acres of the North Woods, more than 3 million are in conservation easements and more than 300,000 are managed as deer-wintering habitats...

... The tales are strikingly similar: They say Livezey exaggerated crimes, padded evidence, drank excessively on the job, provided alcohol to suspects, enticed people to commit hunting violations and committed wildlife violations himself – something that game wardens are allowed to do in Maine in the course of conducting investigations...

... “But [those numbers] are kind of misleading, because it’s not an increase across the board,” Ravana said. “There are still a lot of [Wildlife Management Districts] — 12 districts — that don’t have any permit allocations due to being chronically under the goal [population].” ...

Are Maine game wardens out of control? May 10, 2016 Bangor Daily News
... Colin’s... impressive report ... You can access it here ... it is very wrong for a game warden to break the law, and encourage others to break the law, in order to arrest someone... the Warden Service should have been much more cooperative in providing Colin with the information ... Don’t they work for us? ...

... Davis said he was troubled by several things revealed in the newspaper’s investigation, including the wardens’ refusal to provide their written policies for undercover investigations and the fact that an undercover warden provided guns, ammunition, transportation, and a searchlight to a target and even shot a deer to encourage him to poach...

... , this newly conserved land includes one of the largest white-tailed deer wintering areas in the region ...  the land has been transferred from The Conservation Fund to the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands...

... this year’s mild winter was responsible for a lower than average deer mortality rate ...
     Proposal would boost Maine's deer permits by 59 percent May 4, 2016 Press Herald
...  the deer herd is now looking robust in many parts of Maine after a mild winter... Any-deer permits had declined by 23 percent in 2015 ... reduce Maine’s moose permits by 24 percent this year... between 60,000 to 70,000 moose in Maine ...

Eastbrook man gets 8 months for multiple hunting violations May 4, 2016 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... loaded a crossbow, leaned out the passenger side window of the vehicle and shot a doe with it... hunting or possessing an antlerless deer without a permit, hunting when the season is closed, shooting from a motor vehicle and hunting from a paved public way ...

Checking in on Maine's deer herd after mild winter April 23, 2016 Lewiston Sun Journal
...  we’re looking at a winter that may be tied for the most mild winter, at least for deer, going back to 1975.  "The estimated over-winter mortality this year is expected to be a little over five percent; this is about six percent below the long-term average for the state (averages a little over 11 percent) ... Overall 20,325 deer were registered during 2015 [hunt] ... 

High-tech rifles used in hunting raises ethical debate April 16, 2016 Maine, Lewiston Sun Journal
... Should it be legal for a big game hunter to use a computerized targeting sighting system? To be more precise a deer hunter lays down $10,000 for a “smart rifle,” or a Tracking Point Precision-Guided .308 Firearm, is he pushing the envelope on ethics? ... not illegal ... in Maine  ....
Land purchase highlights power of conservation March 31, 2016 Maine, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
... Deer hunters spent $10 million in the Kennebec Valley tourism zone in 2013, as well as another $11 million in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region to the west and $12 million in the Maine Highlands to the east... without wintering areas like the 3,000 acres near Cold Stream — where they hunker down to wait out the winter months — there would be a lot fewer deer...

Maine data:  A population of 210,000 estimated in mid-2017.  Populations have been supported by mild winters in 2015-16 and 2016-17.   Hunting permits increased for 2016-17 and 2017-18.  In November, 2015, an estimated 211,000 deer.  The mild 2015-16 winter allowed populations to rebound following the harsh winter of 2014-15.  Any-deer permits proposed to increase by 60% in 2016 to 45,775.  In order to reduce hunting pressure Maine issued fewer any-deer permits in 2015, 28,770  compared to 37,185 for the 2013-14 season.  The 2015 deer harvest  fell by 9.6%. Bucks were 73 percent of the harvest. The number of deer hunters trended   higher from 2011 to 2016.
     The 2014 deer population was estimated at around 220,000, declining as a result of the severe winter.  A 19 percent winter deer mortality rate was estimated for the north in 2013 - 2014. In response, the number of "any deer" permits for the 2014-15 hunt was reduced by 9,525 to 37,185, further cuts of 23 percent are in place for 2015.  The 2014 harvest was 78.4 percent bucks, 196,146 deer hunting licenses were sold, probably about 160,000 hunters participated. A 65 percent success rate.  The population had rebounded somewhat in 2013 and trended higher from 2010 as a result of mild winters, but the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 winters were the 14th and 11th worst winters for deer since the 1950s. Two consecutive severe winters in 2008 and 2009 significantly reduced the herd and decimated the northern herd which has not recovered, the total population fell to about 140,000.  Doe hunting was been prohibited in northern Maine for years.  The deer population was estimated at about 275,000 in the late 1950's and during 1998 to 2000.  
     The reported number of deer harvested during 2012 was 21,553; the 2011 harvest was 18,170, only slightly above the 2009 figure which was the lowest in decades, with a total of 18,092. In 2010, the total was 20,063, with a significant increase in the number of yearling bucks sporting multi-pointed antlers and a decrease in the percentage of antlerless deer taken. 
     The average population estimate from 1955 to 2003 was around 215,000.  Some recent estimates put the deer population at 150,000 to 200,000.  A recent study suggests changes in forest management may be "indicative of declines in extent of deer wintering habitat throughout the Northern Forest Region" [Study in PDF file]  Or more directly from a hunting guide: "when they started cutting deer yards, they pretty much wiped out the deer herd in northern Maine. The deer population in the Southern region rebounded to near pre-2008 levels. Maine's Game Plan for Deer [PDF]  Deer habitat, particularly for wintering, has declined dramatically in Maine over the last 25 years.
      The ban on Sunday hunting began in 1883.
      Moose About 60,000 to 70,000 in 2016.  Estimated at 76,000 moose in 2012 that had been somewhat stable, but a radio collar study indicated a 30 percent winter mortality rate for adult females in 2014. As in many states, winter ticks are driving populations down.  Moose permits were reduced by 25 percent, further reductions in 2016.  Population estimates for Moose improved with the 2015 number at 60,000 to 70,000.  Maine Moose Harvest for 2016 
      Caribou were once native to Maine.  The known last native was illegally shot on Mt. Katahdin in 1908.  Maine has tried twice unsuccessfully, once in 1963 and again in 1986-1990, to reintroduce caribou to the North Woods.  They were either killed by predators, perished from brain worm, or simply moved.
      Bear,  about 25,000 black bear.
      Coyote, not native to Maine were first found in Maine in the early 1900's.  About 12,000 to 13,000 coyotes.  The Eastern coyote has about 8 percent wolf DNA and that percentage is expected to increase making the animals larger.  The population has been reported to be stable since about 1985.

- Main Town Hall A forum to share thoughts on the state's big game management plan



Gerry Lavigne, who served as Maine's state deer biologist for 30 years, talks about areas with deer habitat, but no deer. - January 14, 2013