In response to the impact of harsh winter conditions on deer populations in various locations throughout the state, Commissioner Roland "Dan" Martin is proposing to reduce Antlerless Deer Permits – also known as Any Deer Permits -- by approximately 23 percent for this year's regular and special muzzleloading deer hunting seasons.
The Commissioner also is proposing to restrict the regular archery season and Youth Hunting Day to bucks only in those Wildlife Management Districts that have no antlerless permits being allocated. Archery season is scheduled for Oct. 2-31, and Youth Deer Day is Oct. 25.
In the Department's Agency Rulemaking Proposal, Commissioner Martin outlines his recommendation that 51,125 Any Deer Permits be made available to hunters this season in 13 of the state's 29 Wildlife Management Districts, a decrease of 15,150 permits from last year and a reduction of seven management districts that were open to Antlerless Deer Permit holders last year.
The proposed Wildlife Management Districts in which Any Deer Permits would be allowed are 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, and 29.
Commissioner Martin said his numbers are preliminary and could be modified once additional data are available from department biologists.
"Harvest levels are established for each Wildlife Management District to move the district toward a population goal," according to Commissioner Martin. "After reviewing biological and harvest data for deer compiled by department biologists, and after factoring in winter weather's impact on deer populations, we decided a 23 percent reduction in permits was prudent to help us achieve population goals within specific management districts."
Deer permits will be allocated to applicants by district using a random drawing.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will conduct public hearings on the permit allocations at 6:30 p.m. on April 28 at the Greenville High School in Greenville and at 6:30 p.m. on May 8 at the Presque Isle Fish and Game Club in Presque Isle.
The deadline for additional comments on the proposed permit allocations is May 19.
The Department also has been petitioned to consider a proposal to allow ice fishing on the St. John River in Aroostook County. A public hearing regarding that proposal is set for 6:30 p.m. on April 30 at the Van Buren Community Center in Van Buren.
If adopted, rules concerning bag limits, length limits and season dates would need to be determined.
The deadline for additional comments on this proposal is May 12.
All of the Commissioner's proposals require the consent of the Department's Advisory Council.
To comment, contact Andrea Erskine, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, No. 41 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333 or e-mail Andrea.Erskine@maine.gov .
2008 Deer Hunting Season:
Firearms season: Nov. 3-29
Maine Residents Only: Nov. 1
Youth Deer Day: Oct. 25
Archery: Oct. 2-31
Muzzleloader statewide (all WMDS): Dec. 1-6
Muzzleloader WMDs 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29: Dec. 8-13
Expanded archery season (designated areas only): Sept. 6-Dec. 13