Maine's Whitetail Deer Need Help

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Maine's deer population has been in decline for some time and heavy snowfall could push the northern population to new lows. The Press Herald has a detailed article discussing the state of Maine's whitetail deer herds and what needs to be done in order to improve the quantity and quality of the deer in the state.

Outside of northern New England, deer populations have skyrocketed, as have the number and quality of antlered bucks. Meanwhile, the quality of Maine's bucks has diminished statewide and the overall number of deer has dropped in the south and plummeted in the north. Many areas of northern and eastern Maine now support only one deer per square mile, or less!


jim boyd's picture

Man, what a shame. While some

Man, what a shame.

While some states are enjoying great success with the deer herd, Maine is struggling just to stay in the game.

It really sounds like, in this case, people are to blame - specifically - timber production.

Sure bears get some deer.

That prong of the attack sounds like a sticky one as a result of the positive impact that bear hunting plays on the economy.

I am surprised that they state a coyote problem so strongly - not that anyone doubts the impact of the coyote - it is just, I guess, that I do not think of coyotes when I think of Maine.

There is absolutely NO DOUBT what coyotes have done in the south... heck the first coyotes were not even noted in Georgia until the mid fifties and look what they have done now - they are rampant and are an immediate threat to deer herds - and are a general nuisance.

Maine is such a stunningly beautiful state and blessed with natural reasources - but it sounds like one of the resources - deer - is being squandered awat.

We can pray for a mild winter - but that sounds like a short term repreive, at best...

I wish the state the best but they are eventually going to have to step up and take some drastic action if they are going to restore the state to its previous status as a deer destination.

Best of luck, Maine, we are rooting for you.

Great article, BGH...

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Having been born in

Having been born in northeastern Maine, hunted there many a times, and having most of one side of my family still living there, I can say without a doubt, that herd is in trouble.

I have said in other posts, 20 years ago, we'd go driving for an hour and see 20+ deer out in the fields.  They'd be out all the time, and it was just something you did. 

Success during the season was pretty good.  We'd take the 8 hour drive from Vermont up to our relatives for Thanksgiving, and we'd have fun looking for all the cars headed southbound with big bucks strapped to the roof.

Now, if we see one, it's sort of a shock.  There are many reasons, but one I keep preaching and the article mentions is the direct correlation to the timber harvest.

The really big chunks of timber that used to be taken out would lead to alot of low level browse for the deer.  The article does not mention that, but it does mention leaving other tracts untouched for the wintering herd.  My grandparents had a deer yard a few miles down the road that they would go look at every winter, and see 100+ deer at a time.  The deer rely on those areas for easier access, cause the snow does not penetrate the big forest as much. 

As for the coyote problem, this is just like many many other attempts across the country that go sour because something else gets in the way.  In this case, they can't trap the coyotes, cause they are afraid of catching lynk as a by product.  It's a catch 22.

I really am hoping for a rebound, because hunting the big woods of northern Maine is a trip everyone should get to do once in their lifetime.  Like hunting elk in the rockies, antelope in the plains, etc., it is unique to Maine, at least in the continental US.  Sure, Vermont and New hampshire have some big woods, but not like Maine.