The 25-day regular deer hunting season (firearms) opened for Maine residents on Saturday, Oct. 30, and for non-residents the following Monday, Nov. 1.
Hunters must have a valid hunting license and, if selected in the lottery, an any-deer permit.
This fall, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is issuing 48,825 Any-Deer (Antlerless) permits -- a 7.5 percent increase over last year's number, or 3,340 more permits. They range from 490 permits in WMD 13 to 7,800 in WMD 23. No permits will be allocated in WMDs 1-11, 14, 18, 19, 27 and 28.
Availability of any-deer permits among Maine's 29 wildlife management districts (WMDs) is directly related to our deer management objectives. Very conservative doe harvests are required in eastern and northern WMDs where we are trying to increase deer densities. In contrast, does must be more heavily harvested in WMDs where current objectives are to stabilize deer populations to the 15 or 20 deer per square mile. Abundance targets were set following input from a public working group whose task was to formulate Maine's deer management goals.
The allocation of 48,825 any-deer permits, along with the archery and youth seasons, should result in the statewide harvest of roughly 5,922 does and an additional 2,982 fawns in 2010. Antlered buck harvests should approximate 12,015, which is about a 5 percent increase from the 2009 buck kill of 11,460. The impact of two tough winters in 2008 and 2009 on deer survival is still being felt, however we should see some positive gains after the recent mild winter. If normal hunting conditions and hunter effort take place the statewide deer harvest in Maine should be in the vicinity of 20,919 deer.
The permit allocation is: 32,907 for residents; 12,208 for landowners; 2,649 for non-residents; and 1,061 for Superpack holders. (Superpack and landowners must meet certain requirements. See the Department's website for more information.)
The regular firearms season ends the Saturday following Thanksgiving, Nov. 27.
The muzzleloader season will begin in all WMDs on Nov. 29, but will end on Dec. 4 in WMDs 1 – 11, 14, 19, 27 and 28. Elsewhere, the muzzleloading season will continue until Dec. 11. Crossbow archery season will coincide with modern firearms.
Hunters Reminded to Read, Carry Law Book
Hunters are reminded to read and carry with them their appropriate law books. The law books are available at any of the Department's 840 licensing agents statewide and at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife offices. For more information, call 287-8000.
IMPORTANT: Hunters Must Write Down Their Any-Deer Permit Number
MDIF&W no longer mails Any-Deer permits to permit winners. Instead, permit winners need to record their permit number and report the permit number to the registration station when tagging their deer. The Department suggests that permit winners write down their permit number and keep the number with their hunting license so it is readily available when needed at the registration station. Hunters can find their Any-Deer permit number by visiting our web site at http://deer.informe.org/index.htm.