Maine Deer:  An estimated  240,000 deer in mid-2017, about 225,000 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 in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19.  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

Hunters may apply for any-deer permits July 30, 2018 Maine, Fiddlehead Focus
... Generally, success rates for deer hunters in Maine hover around 15 percent, but those with an any-deer permit harvested a deer over 20 percent of the time. According to the DIFW, permit numbers are increasing in nine southern and central wildlife management districts, decreasing in 11 WMDs and staying the same in nine WMDs..,

Applications for any-deer permit lottery available July 17, 2018 Maine, Courier-Gazette & Camden Herald
... for this coming deer season, a total 84,745 any-deer permits are proposed for 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts, an increase of 28 percent. Last year, there were 66,050 permits available ... Generally, success rates for deer hunters in Maine hover around 15 percent but those with an any-deer permit harvested a deer more than 20 percent of the time..,

Trying to get a handle on state's moose population July 7, 2018 Maine, Lewiston Sun Journal
... When the moose aerial studies were commenced in 2010, getting a handle on the ever-elusive question of how many moose there actually are was an avowed purpose of the surveys ... Eight years later, it seems that, although we have gained useful data on moose sex ratios and causes of mortality, and other indices, we have fallen short in counting heads...

Big-game plan favors revenue over conservation July 7, 2018 Maine, Kennebec Journal 
... The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife would like to expand any-deer permits this year to nearly 85,000, which is up 28 percent from last year. ... Please submit your comments on or before July 6 to: Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Attention: Becky Orff, secretary to the commissioner, 284 State St., 41 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333; or becky.orff@maine.gov...

Maine North Woods Trap Camera--Deer, Coming out of the Woods, One by One - July 4, 2018


  Celebrity moose finds home at Maine Wildlife Park in Gray June 24, 2018 Maine, Portland Press Herald
... The 3-week-old female moose calf, who melted hearts across the country in a viral video of her with the dog of the family that found her ...moose are “more docile” and more easily imprinted on than deer are ...

Deer Kill Largest In Last Ten Years June 14, 2018 Maine, MDIFW News
...  Deer hunters in Maine harvested 27,233 deer in 2017, the highest total in the last ten years and an increase of 15% from 2016.  “An increasing deer herd in southern and central Maine, and favorable hunting conditions contributed to the best deer hunting season in ten years,” ..,

... Moose hunting ended in 1936 and was reopened in 1980... the spruce budworm outbreak of the 1970s and 1980s actually increased moose populations. 2012 aerial surveys estimated that moose populations had reached 76,000... until the early 1990s winter ticks had not appeared to significantly impact moose ..,

Abandoned baby moose becomes fast friends with family dog. - June 12, 2018 Maine


Ineffectiveness of local zoning to reduce regional loss and fragmentation of wintering habitat for white-tailed deer  EM Simons-Legaard, DJ Harrison, KR Legaard - Forest Ecology and Management, 2018
... We used a time series of Landsat satellite imagery (1975–2007) to quantify habitat changes in and adjacent to 187 areas zoned on private, commercial forestlands to protect habitat for wintering white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Maine... Areas protected for wintering deer collectively represent only 2% of the forested land base in our study area, and we conclude that habitat protection focused solely on those narrowly-defined zones has been ineffective at achieving regional conservation of winter habitat for deer...

We're still waiting for 2017 deer hunt numbers June 2, 2018 Maine, observer-me.com
... As of the first of June, nobody in officialdom, including the state deer biologist Nathan Bieber, can tell you how many deer were taken in last fall’s hunt... Dudley says he thinks the kill will be about the same as it was in 2016 ... It all kind of makes you wonder how, with an incomplete data base, the Department can make informed deer management decisions ...

Lots of deer issues from ticks to antler restrictions May 30, 2018 Maine, georgesoutdoornews.bangordailynews.com
... efforts of MDIFW and landowners to increase deer densities in much of northern, western, and downeast Maine have not been successful, and deer remain under objective.” The department is going to reevaluate the limiting factors for deer in those parts of the state ...plan calls for developing a certification program for hunters that would authorize participation in special urban deer hunts ...

... Between the mid-1950s and early 1960s the department estimated Maine’s deer population to be 250,000, and 35,000 to 40,000 deer were harvested annually.  During the 1960s ... Harsh winters, wintering habitat loss, coyote colonization, and increasing hunting pressure resulted in the population declining to approximately 141,000...

... the projected doe harvest was not reached last fall. State biologists projected a doe harvest of 7,114 in 2017 but the actual reported doe harvest was 5,950.  “This is one of the reasons for the proposed increase in permits for 2018,” ...

... The environmental conditions have made it a better place for ticks to live, to the detriment of both humans and some young moose...  in western Maine ... there’s going to be less moose ... There was no moose season in Maine from 1936 through 1979...

...1830: First restrictions on deer hunting; season set at Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, no bag limit... 1873: First bag limit, three deer per hunter per year..,

... In the deer management plan, a “new, high-priority” goal involves developing a chronic wasting disease response plan. The disease hasn’t been detected in Maine, but managers are taking a possible outbreak seriously... “Moose densities themselves may be the biggest reason why winter tick has exerted such an influence on moose abundance ...

... This month the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife will launch a beta test during the spring turkey hunt in which tagging stations will record harvests on computer software. Once fully implemented, the program will allow biologists to get real-time data on harvest numbers and a more immediate read on the health of the state’s moose, deer, bear and turkey populations...

...  It is impossible to effectively manage any game herd without a minimum of reasonable, scientific methods of devising estimates of population densities ... To announce a shift from this method of deer management to one of concentrating on the health of the herd, stating that it will give management more “flexibility” is utter environmental nonsense ...

... Allagash and St. John rivers  ... a young deer floated past on an ice floe... people began to congregate on the riverbank and began to root for the deer... other video of it making it to shore! The deer never panicked and was so nimble ...

Conservation group aims to save one deer at a time April 18, 2018 Maine, Fiddlehead Focus
... Aroostook County Conservation Association ... “A large part of what we do involves habitat improvement projects such as the planting of food plots which are strategically located throughout The County,” ... When winter conditions make the plots unavailable, the group offers the deer limited amounts of supplemental food consisting of a 50-50 blend of oats and barley...


...  The bill's designed to reduce the penalty for a second-time offender to a two-year hunting license suspension...
First Maine reindeer in 20 years born in Winslow on Easter morning April 4, 2018 Maine, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
... at a petting zoo... “We had purchased a couple this fall to add to our herd and they actually had bred,” ...

Only 2% of deer have the piebald characteristics. - March 24, 2018


... “We’ve had a really mild February for the most part, so I think a big storm coming after all that mildness is not going to be that big a deal for deer,” ... “So far [the winter] has been more severe than the last two years,” Bieber said. “I would estimate by the end of the season the winter severity index will be higher than the last two years, but it has still been a pretty mild to moderate year.” ..,

Maine hunters are still killing lots of moose March 8, 2018 Bangor Daily News
... Last year 73% of our moose hunters got their moose. 2,080 permits were issued, and 1,518 hunters were successful... statistics details ...

... Maine’s moose population was estimated at 76,000 in 2011 and is now estimated at between 50,000 and 70,000, according to IFW... a test to see whether culling the moose population in areas with a higher incidence of winter ticks can lead to a healthier herd..,

... "This was a house cat," [Dr. Mark McCollough, an endangered species biologist]  said. "If there was a cougar population here in New England, we would know about it."  The last known cougar was killed in Maine in 1938..,

... Under the new law, a second-time offence of hunting deer over bait during hunting season will result in a permanent ineligibility for that hunter to obtain a hunting license in Maine. Davis would like to lessen the penalty to a two-year ineligibility period...

Maine Big Bucks and Estimated 2017 Deer Harvest February 3, 2018 TomRemington.com
... The deer harvest has plummeted from a high of 38,153 in 2002, to a low of 18,045 in 2009. Since 2009, the deer harvest has averaged around 21,000 ... Reports have been thrown around about mild winters and more deer, but to those who get around, it is clear that such conditions only exist in certain areas..,

... McMahon’s operation about 45 miles north of Bangor in Piscataquis County – feeding as many as 200 deer a day – has become a bit of a social-media sensation... the 71-year-old McMahon created the Facebook page called the “Brownville Deer Food Pantry,” ...

... If MDIFW is so smart, they could work with the people and hunters to implement a tax on licenses that would help cover the cost of purchasing the right kind of food.  If MDIFW is so smart, instead of complaining that some people might be giving deer the wrong food, they could make sure the food being used is the kind least likely to harm the deer...

Balancing the deer herd is often a thankless task January 7, 2018 Maine, Press Herald
... Clearly we need to grow the herd in northern and Downeast Maine. The biggest obstacles toward that end are winter severity, which we have no control over; predators, which we have limited control over; and habitat, which we simply fail to do enough about... a maximum sustained yield is best accomplished by maintaining the population at around 50 percent of K – half what the land safely can support...

For a strong deer herd, factor in the winter habitat December 24, 2017 Maine,  PressHerald
... The dwindling deer herd needs places to successfully get through winters... In Maine, the principal limiting factor for deer is suitable winter habitat... 571,000 acres of another 600,000 acres managed by the Bureau of Parks and Lands, is not being managed for winter deer habitat ...

... Once a year big guy and other stags are sorted from the herd so that Dolbec can harvest their antlers ... When the antlers are completely dried, they're cut and ground into a fine powder that's sorted into capsules... the velvet antler capsules are used by customers to support the body's own natural functions...

Eastport, Wandering herd of deer caught on video in Eastport December 11 2017 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... Bartlett made it clear the committee wasn’t a deer hunting group but rather a deer deterrent group.  “We’ve been trying to find all kinds of non-lethal ways to deter deer from doing property damage, whether it’s electric fences or chemical odor deterrents, or there’s now motion-sensitive sprinklers,” he said. “[Just] coming up with a list of non-lethal deterrents for people to try.” ...

Coyotes impacting Maine deer December 3, 2017 Maine, Press Herald
... coyotes arrived in New York in the 1920s, and in Maine in the 60s and 70s... In a 1995 report, former Maine deer biologist Gerry Lavigne estimated coyote predation in Maine accounted for nearly 30 percent of annual deer mortality ..,

...The DIF&W biologist who investigates many of these cases isn’t saying that the big cats aren’t here. He just wants proof...

...  the men headed out to try to help the deer, bashing their way through the ice all the way out. It took 20 minutes or a half-hour to reach the deer ... [after the rescue the deer] woke up and jumped right up ...

Bad News! Maine coyotes are becoming wolves. November 26, 2017 Bangor Daily News
... according to Roland Kays, a leading coyote biologist with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, our coyotes are 8 to 25 percent wolf... scientists believe our coyotes “will have a greater chance of survival if they have access to large deer.” ..,

A deer by any other name … November 26, 2017 Maine, Press Herald
... when someone in Maine suggests that a certain buck might “make the club,” they’re more likely referring to the Biggest Bucks of Maine Club, which recognizes deer with a dressed weight (no internal organs) of 200 pounds or more. It’s also possible they mean the Maine Antler & Skull Trophy Club ...

... the first hunting fatality the state has seen in four years.  Family members said that Wrentzel was on her own property digging for rocks and gems when the incident occurred...

... Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso estimated that the state’s deer herd at 240,000 this summer. That’s up from an estimated 199,000 in 2008... we’ve had a series of mild winters ...  in 2000 when the department limited coastal areas to about 15 deer per square mile ..,

Outdoors in Maine: ‘Coywolf’ ploy explained August 1, 2017   Maine Outdoors, Turner Publishing ALL papers
...  former Maine deer biologist Gerry Lavigne reported ...  Depending upon which study you read, Eastern coyotes have always contained 8% to 30 % wolf DNA going back to the 1940s. Lavigne says that has not changed in decades...  In the Northeast, venison comprises up to 80% of a coyote’s winter diet...

... “This last winter, 2016-17, was [the latest in a string of mild winters],” Kantar said. “It was in the bottom as one of the most mild winters.” ... with about 66,000 any-deer permits being issued, it’s reasonable to expect that 6,000 does will be harvested, Kantar said...

Here's why state is issuing a lot more any-deer permits July 20, 2017 Maine, Piscataquis Observer... Maine’s wildlife director, attributes the increase to an increase in deer numbers, especially in central Maine thanks to a relatively mild, “open” winter, which allowed higher reproduction and better winter and early spring foraging opportunities for Maine’s whitetail deer herd...
  
  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 ...

Maine data:  A population of up to 240,000 estimated for mid-2017 with up to 225,000 in 2016.  Populations have been supported by mild winters in 2015-16 and 2016-17, a mild to moderate winter in 2017-18.   Hunting permits increased for 2016-17,  2017-18., and 2018-19.  In November, 2015, an estimated 211,000 deer.  The mild 2015-16 winter allowed populations to rebound following the harsh winter of 2014-15.  Dwindling deer winter habitat has stressed the herd, particularly in the north.  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.  Deer history from the 1997 assessment.
      History:  First restrictions on deer hunting were applied in 1830, season set at Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, with no bag limit.  The first bag limit was set in 1873, three deer per hunter per year reduced to two deer in 1895, and to one in 1925.  A ban on Sunday hunting began in 1883.  Between the mid-1950s and early 1960s the department estimated Maine’s deer population to be 250,000, and 35,000 to 40,000 deer were harvested annually.  During the 1960s, harsh winters, wintering habitat loss, coyote colonization, and increasing hunting pressure resulted in the population declining to approximately 141,000.  For more history see the 2018 Big Game Management Plan starting on page 35.
      Moose  An estimated 50,000 to 70,000 in early 2018.  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.  
      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 1960s and 1970s.  Current population of about 12,000 to 13,000 coyotes.  The Eastern coyote has about 8 to 25 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.
     Cougar (Mountain Lion)  The last know cougar killed in Maine in 1938, unconfirmed recent sightings.




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