Maine Deer Population:  An estimated 211,000 deer in 2015 with the population trending higher after a mild 2015-16 winter.   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 harvest data and news archive.

Maine Deer News

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:  Population trending higher in 2016 after mild winter.  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 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 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. 
      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.
     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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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