Deer hunters still have time to apply for an any-deer permit, but the deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 15 is fast approaching. It’s fast and it’s free to apply online with a Maine hunting license at mefishwildlife.com.
This year, there are 84,745 any-deer permits proposed for 22 of the state’s wildlife management districts, an increase of nearly 30 percent over last year. These numbers await final approval by the advisory council on Aug. 23 and the drawing for permits is on Sept. 7.
With a moderate winter in central and southern Maine, and above-average winter severity in northern Maine, any-deer permit numbers are increasing in nine southern and central wildlife management districts, decreasing in 11 wildlife management districts, and staying the same in nine wildlife management districts. One can find the complete numbers at maine.gov/ifw/news-events/rulemaking-proposals.html.
The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. The ability to adjust the state’s deer populations derives from the ability to increase, or decrease, the number of breeding does on the landscape. White-tailed deer are at the northern edge of their range in Maine, and winter severity is a limiting factor concerning population growth. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends.
Last year, deer hunters in Maine harvested 27,233 deer, the highest total in the last 10 years and an increase of 15 percent from 2016.
Maine’s deer hunt is broken down into several seasons for firearm hunters, muzzleloaders, and bow hunters, and stretches from September into December. Most deer are harvested during the general firearms season (23,288 in 2017). Bowhunters took 2,099 deer, and hunters took 970 deer during the muzzleloading season in 2017. Maine’s junior hunters were also very successful on youth day, with 876 youth hunters taking a deer this past year.
The deer harvest for the past ten years is as follows: 2007 — 28,885; 2008 — 21,062; 2009 –18,092; 2010 — 20,063; 2011 — 18,839; 2012 — 21,365; 2013 — 24,217; 2014 — 22,490; 2015 — 20,325; 2016 — 23,512; and 2017 — 27,233.