Maine Deer News

Maine hunters ready for reduced Sept. 9 deer permit drawing August 18, 2015 Portland Press Herald ·
... Maine is issuing 28,770 deer hunting permits, down from 37,185 permits last year...

... a rare piebald deer ... a genetic defect that produces their white skin and leaves them with various brown and sometimes black spots...

Managing moose numbers best left to pros July 11, 2015 Maine, Lewiston Sun Journal
 ... Maine's moose population was about 70,000 at its peak a few years back ...  into the fall of 2015 ... "Between 60,000 and 70,000 ... the Fish and Wildlife Department are obligated by law and tradition to safeguard the moose resource, for moose viewers as well as moose hunters...

State to issue 23 percent fewer any-deer permits this year July 9, 2015 Maine, outthere.bangordailynews.com
...  will issue just 28,770 any-deer permits. That’s a reduction of 8,415, or 23 percent, from a year ago... a 24 percent reduction in the DIF&W’s doe harvest objective ... “The 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 winters were the 14th and 11th worst winters for deer, respectively, since the 1950s.” ...

Maine reducing deer hunting permits by 23 percent to protect herd July 2, 2015 Portland Press Herald
... Maine wildlife biologists say they are taking precautions to protect the state’s whitetail deer herd after a harsh winter  ... Last summer, IFW estimated the state’s whitetail deer population at about 220,000. Ravana said the herd was estimated at 210,000 by March. Dating back to the 1950s, the longterm annual average has been about 215,000 ...

Sick deer don't recognize state lines July 2, 2015 Pennsylvania, Cumberland Times News Homepage
... While the Pennsylvania agency can expand the zone to the west, it won’t expand it any further south than it already has because the zone touches the Maryland 
... Maryland’s CWD Management Zone, however, reaches only as far west as the Town Creek drainage...

Any-Deer permit applications now available July 1, 2015 Maine, Daily Bulldog
... A total of 28,770 any-deer permits will be issued in 15 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts. This is a decrease from last year when there were 37,185 permits available to hunters...

Tales of a dedicated Maine warden, part I June 27, 2015 Maine, Sun-Journal 
... part of Waldo County was a hotbed for deer poachers in the early 1970s. There was organized deer poaching and rampant selling of deer meat. “They hated game wardens,” ...

Deer gives birth after being struck by vehicle in Ellsworth June 25, 2015 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... After the crash, the doe gave birth to a pair of fawns before scurrying back into the woods and succumbing to her injuries ... the fawns are at a refugee center ... are doing well and would be released into the wild this fall...

Islesboro grapples over deer hunt — again June 25, 2015 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... Earlier this month, residents voted 45 to 27 at a special town meeting once again to allow an unlimited deer hunt on the island in the dead of winter for the next three years, as part of an effort to reduce the white-tailed deer population from about 50 per square mile to 10 per square mile ...

... Deer hunters in Maine harvested 22,490 deer last fall. This number is a far cry from the deer harvests in the past... For 2015, the Department is recommending a total of 28,700 Anydeer permits. This is a decrease of 23 percent from 2014. In 2013, there was a 20 percent cutback ... 

Deer Wintering Areas in Maine June 19, 2015  Environmental Studies
... map shows deer wintering areas throughout the state of Maine in relation to Wildlife Management District boundaries... 

US wildlife managers declare eastern cougar extinct June 17, 2015 Maine, Bangor Daily News
...Eastern cougars were declared endangered in 1973, even though the last known records were tied to one killed by a hunter in Maine in 1938 and another in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1932. ... Their demise also was linked to the destruction of forests for wood, which pushed the cougars’ chief prey, white-tailed deer, to near extinction ... The Florida panther is the only breeding population of cougars  east of the Mississippi River ...

Maine Moose Festival getting underway with calling contest June 12, 2015 WCSH-TV
... The moose festival lasts through Sunday in Bethel...

Warming climate and winter ticks decimating moose populations June 7, 2015 Maine, Al Jazeera America
...  the state’s last official count of its moose population, in 2012, put the number of moose roaming Maine’s forests and mountains at about 76,000 ... Hunters, academics and environmentalists fear that moose numbers across Maine and in other parts of the U.S. are experiencing a worrying decline in numbers in the face of deadly ticks that are decimating populations..

Deer are big business May 30, 2015 Maine, Sun-Journal 
...  a decline in deer numbers in Maine, especially in the big woods, has resulted in fewer nonresident deer hunters ...  the typical Maine deer hunter is a middle-aged male between 45 and 55 years of age... In 2013 deer hunters — 136,796 of them — generated a whopping infusion of 68 million dollars to the state's economy! ...

Harsh winter could affect deer hunting permits May 16, 2015 Maine, Observer-Reporter
... biologists are recommending the state issue 28,770 “any deer” permits, which allow hunters to harvest bucks or does. The cut would come a year after the state reduced permits from 46,710 to 37,185, a 25 percent cut that was also motivated in part by winter die-offs.  Maine’s deer herd was about 200,000 a year ago...

Deer harvest second highest in six years May 15, 2015 Maine, The Republican Journal 
... Deer hunters in Maine harvested 22,490 deer in 2014, the second-highest total in six years ... the 2014 buck harvest was similar to 2013 (15,986 to 16,736) ... In 2014, 4,401 adult does were harvested, which was approximately 17 percent below the 2013 harvest of 5,308 adult does...

Maine biologists recommend reducing deer hunting permits May 7, 2015 Portland Press Herald
...  biologists are recommending a cut of 23 percent to the state’s deer hunting permits...  recommending the state issue 28,770 “any deer” permits, which allow hunters to harvest bucks or does. The cut would come a year after the state reduced permits from 46,710 to 37,185 ...

... The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife decided Wednesday against an earlier proposal to add cow moose permits in Wildlife Management District 9... A subsequent online petition by residents who complained that they were not seeing as many moose as they had resulted in a public hearing in April in Greenville...

Three more deer found fatally shot, left to waste May 6, 2015 Maine, Lewiston Sun Journal
... Anyone who saw suspicious activity in the areas of Leeds, Livermore, Livermore Falls, East Livermore, Chesterville, Jay, or surrounding areas are strongly encouraged to anonymously call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-253-7887. 

Republicans and conservation — not the partnership it used to be May 5, 2015 Maine, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
... The governor launched the state’s Maine Game Plan for Deer three years ago with great fanfare. A focus of that plan is the protection of deer wintering habitat. He has now turned his back on that plan and goal... The 2,883 acres in the Central Maine Sportsman Access project ...  would protect 880 acres of deer wintering habitat ...

Chestervill, Reward for information on deer killing increased to $3500 May 5, 2015 Maine, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
... Wardens are investigating the killing of four deer, in Chesterville, Jay, Livermore and Leeds. The case was opened on April 22, when game wardens found a doe with a fatal gunshot wound to the side near the intersection of Bragdon Road and East Road in Chesterville. The doe was pregnant with two fawns, according to Wardens...
... The act of shooting four does, leaving the bodies where they lay, is bizarre, disrespectful ... One deer, pregnant with twins, was found dead, shot in the spine, last Wednesday near the intersection of East and Bragdon roads in Chesterville ...
     Reward hiked as more dead deer found in Franklin County April 28, 2015 Maine, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
... Wardens said the four dead does, found in Chesterville, the East Livermore area of Livermore Falls, Livermore and Leeds “appear to have been killed under similar circumstances and left to waste,” ... reward $2,000 ... 
      Warden service seeks information after pregnant deer is shot April 24, 2015 Maine, Daily Bulldog
... Game wardens are seeking information pertaining to the illegal killing of a pregnant doe near the intersection of Bragdon and East Road Wednesday afternoon... 1-800-ALERTUS (1-800-253-7887) 
    
... It’s no secret that we’ve lost most of Maine’s deer hunting industry after the deer herd itself was lost. Those guides, for example, who could, moved to other states. I know one lodge owner and guide who sold his north country lodge and bought a ranch in Texas, where he charged $5,000 to $10,000 for a week of deer hunting...

Northern New England states can provide good venues for hunting April 23, 2015 Vermont, Worcester Telegram
... Though deer hunting in Maine has been disappointing for several years, moose hunting has remained fairly good. However, with only 65 percent of hunters experiencing success, the recent 2014 season wasn't anywhere close to the best of years... 

Deer rescued from ice in St. Albans, but doomed April 16, 2015 Maine, Centralmaine
... Hours after several people saw firefighters rescue a small deer stuck on thin ice in the middle of Weymouth Pond, the animal was killed by a game warden who saw it suffering and deemed it unlikely to survive...

A fish and wildlife wish list April 15, 2015 Maine, Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel
... In every deer plan for the last 30 years, lack of wintering habitat was cited as the most important issue. But we have done very little to address that critical problem, now cited as the principle reason we lost our deer herd in the North Woods...  We desperately need to begin marketing hunting and fishing again, to grow the agency’s customer base and boost our ailing outdoor industry...

Prevalence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus Antibodies Among White-Tailed Deer Populations in Maine JP Mutebi, M Godsey, RP Smith Jr, MR Renell, L Smith… - Vector-Borne and Zoonotic …, 2015
... Forty-seven of the 332 (14.2%) sera were positive for EEEV antibodies, showing a much wider distribution of EEEV activity in Maine than previously known...  Our data suggest higher EEEV activity in central Maine compared to southern Maine, whereas EEEV activity in Maine has historically been associated with the southern counties of York and Cumberland...

Hunting bill reflects legislative unfairness March 23, 2015 Maine, Portland Press Herald 
... The present head of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department, Chandler Woodcock, was a member of the committee, as was David Trahan, now executive director of SAM (Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine). The result is almost guaranteed approval of bills that support the powerful hunting and trapping lobby that dominates Maine’s political scene...

... The population objective in WMD 12 is 15 deer per square mile ... small, hard, pointed feet is not a good adaptation for living in Maine where there is deep snow ... When deep snow and bitter winds start early or last late into spring, some deer will deplete their fat reserves and die ... Fawns die off first, followed by adult bucks, and then does...



Time is of the essence in Falmouth effort to help hungry deer March 10, 2015 Maine, Bangor Daily News
... forester hired by the town to harvest in the Woods Road Community Forest, where up to a third of the trees will be selectively cut. The goal is to help out wildlife ... particularly deer.  “The deer are eating balsam fur and hemlock, meaning they’re very, very hungry,” ...

...“Protection of critical wintering habitat to support Maine’s white tail deer population was a primary objective of the 2012 bond funds, which received strong bipartisan support in the Legislature and overwhelming endorsement by Maine voters,” said Trahan in a written statement....

...  A four-point minimum antler size might appeal to hunters, but it will do absolutely nothing to produce trophy mule deer, because hunters simply shoot the first small four-point they see and few deer live long enough to reach maximum antler growth. So while point restrictions will increase the average age of the bucks harvested by a year or so ...

Sebec, Maine Life-Deer Rescue March 6, 2015 t.Dow Photography
...  a small deer made the mistake of getting out too far on the thin ice...  residents of Sebec Village passing by the scene had stopped their everyday lives and began to work together to figure out a way to get the deer out of trouble... Pulled to safety...

Deer can survive cold, snow, but need a thaw February 26, 2015 Maine, Mount Desert Islander
... “Deer always are losing weight in the winter, it’s just how much they lose. But if they are still losing when they are expecting to be finding food in the spring, that is when problems arise for them,” ... 

Deer Plans Pile Up While Deer Population Goes Down February 23, 2015 Maine, George's Outdoor News - Bangor Daily News
... Maine’s had a lot of deer plans over the last 30 years ... In every plan, lack of wintering habitat was cited as the most important issue... SAM’s 1996 task force noted, “During the past 25 years the amount and quality of wintering habitat in Maine has declined markedly ... In 2011, Gerry Lavigne wrote ... the loss of deer wintering habitat must be reversed ...

There are many factors when calculating moose harvests February 14, 2015 Maine, Lewiston Sun Journal
... 65 percent of last fall’s moose hunters were successful. This is the lowest success rate since the inception of Maine’s moose hunt 35 years ago! ...  91.2 percent  ...  a steady statistical decline ... 

Homeless Deer may be doomed in Maine's north woods February 10, 2015 Maine, George's Outdoor News - Bangor Daily News
... Representative Bob Duchesne’s comment sums up the problem nicely. Without habitat – especially wintering yards – deer are doomed. Bob’s radio show with Erin Simons-Legaard, a research professor at the University of Maine’s Forestry School, was – well, there’s no other way to describe it – discouraging and depressing. [Listen to the radio show]

Good and bad legislation in the hunt January 25, 2014 Maine, Press Herald
... Two are constitutional amendments that would exclude wildlife issues or laws governing hunting and fishing from the citizens’ initiative process... another proposal would amend Maine’s constitution “to limit the application of citizen initiatives concerning wildlife matters to counties in which they are approved.” ...

...  in northern Maine, the whitetail deer is struggling to persist. Excuses are abundant: severe winters, deer are at their northern range (although further north in portions of Canada there’s not necessarily the same struggle), loss of habitat, the pope is Catholic, etc. ...

Maine data:  In March, 2015, the deer population was estimated at 210,000.  In order to reduce hunting pressure, Maine issued fewer deer permits, 28,770  compared to 37,185 for the 2013-14 season.  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.  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.  Doe hunting has been prohibited in northern Maine for years. Other efforts such as coyote control have not been successful in rebuilding the herd. The deer population was estimated at about 275,000 in the late 1950's and during 1998 to 2000.  
     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]
     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 136,796 deer hunters in 2013 contributed an estimated 68 million dollars to the state's economy.
      Moose A population last estimated at 76,000 moose in 2012 that had been somewhat stable but a radio collar study indicates 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.  Population estimates for Moose have improved recently with the 2015 number at 60,000 to 70,000.
     Bear, coyote, turkey, caribou About 25,000 black bear, 12,000 to 13,000 coyotes (many with wolf DNA), stable population since 1985.   About 60,000 wild turkeys.  The last caribou seen in the state was illegally shot on Mt. Katahdin in 1908.

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Each fall, Maine Wildlife biologists are busy monitoring the health of Maine's white-tailed deer herd. Over the course of a season, IFW biologists will examine thousands of harvested white-tailed deer. The biological data gathered provides an important window into how quickly deer are growing, population densities in the area, and monitors the potential for disease. - November 26, 2014


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