Council Approves Any Deer Permit Numbers

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On the heels of the best deer season since 1968, deer hunters will get plenty of opportunity again this fall, as the Commissioner's Advisory Council approved issuing 72,600 Any Deer permits this year, the second most ever. The council also approved a new permitting system in the expanded archery zones, a revamped bonus deer permit system, set deer season dates, and elected Ken Bailey of Camden as chair of the council.

The 72,600 any deer permits were recommended following a review of harvest data and the likely impacts of the 2003 winter. These permits allow the hunter to kill a doe or a fawn, and permit allocations are varied annually to attain deer population objectives in each of Maine's 30 wildlife management districts (WMD). The total number of Any Deer permits recommended is the second highest ever, second only to 2002 (76,989).

The number of permits and what WMD they are issued Follow: WMD 1 - 0; WMD 2 - 0; WMD 3 - 0; WMD 4 - 100; WMD 5 - 0; WMD 6 - 0; WMD 7 - 750; WMD 8 - 650; WMD 9 - 300; WMD 10 - 300; WMD 11 - 0; WMD 12 - 1,900; WMD 13 - 1,900; WMD 14 - 400; WMD 15 - 3,550; WMD 16 - 6,500; WMD 17 - 15,450; WMD 18 - 200; WMD 19 - 0; WMD 20 - 4,500; WMD 21 - 4,100; WMD 22 - 5,350; WMD 23 -15,550; WMD 24 - 3,500; WMD 25 - 3,500; WMD 26 - 3,250; WMD 27 - 0; WMD 28 - 0; WMD 29 - 0; WMD 30 - 850; Total - 72, 600.

Along with approving the number of permits, the council also approved a new application process for the Any Deer system. Hunters can now choose up to three Wildlife Management Districts for their permit, and if permits are available, they will be assigned by chance in order of their preference. If there are unallocated permits available in a district after the drawing, bonus deer permits will be issued for that WMD. Hunters must indicate on their application a WMD choice for a bonus permit to be considered. Hunters should note the new deadlines. All applications must be postmarked on or by July 15, 2003 or submitted via the internet at www.mefishwildlife.com www.mefishwildlife.com by 11:59 p.m. on August 1.

After a successful inaugural youth deer hunting day, hunters over 10 and under 16 will get their own day once again. The second annual youth deer hunting day is Saturday, October 25. The council also set the dates for the open deer-hunting season statewide. Hunting will begin Monday, November 3, and last through Saturday, November 29, with Maine residents getting their own day on Saturday, November 1.

The special archery season for deer will begin Saturday, October 4, and continue through Friday, October 31. An extended archery season for deer will begin Saturday, Sept. 6, and continue through Saturday, Dec. 6.

Bow hunters interested in participating in the expanded archery season must possess an archery license, and then purchase expanded archery permits. Hunters are allowed only one expanded archery antlered permit, but can purchase multiple expanded archery antlerless deer permits.

Bailey, the former vice chair of the council, replaced Chairman Matt Libby of Ashland. Lance Wheaton of Forest City, ME is the new vice chair.