Maine 2010 Deer Season Sees 11% Increase

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Preliminary deer harvest numbers show an increase of 11 percent from the 2009 harvest with an initial tally of 20,063 deer taken by hunters.

In 2009, 18,092 deer were harvested.

"The winter of 2010 ranked as one of the mildest winters in the past 60 years, a stark contrast to the terrible back-to-back winters of 2008 and 2009," according to MDIF&W Deer Biologist Lee Kantar. "The 2010 winter certainly provided a much-needed break to deer and explains much of the increase in the 2010 harvest."

Regionally, increases were recorded across the northern tier of the state, including the Moosehead area and portions of western Maine. Many yearling bucks were big and sported multiple points on their racks. Of the entire yearling bucks measured by MDIF&W staff statewide, 67 percent were multi-branched antler bucks, only a year-and-a-half old, and 33 percent were spikes. In addition, yearling buck weights were on average 6.6 pounds heavier in 2010 compared to 2009, which was a substantial increase of 6 percent. Heavier deer going into winter survive better through spring.

Youth hunters and modern firearms participants provided the bulk of the higher harvest, with the youth hunters having a 35 percent increased success rate and the rifle hunters gaining a 15 percent increase in harvesting a deer.

"It is always encouraging to note the participation by our young hunters," said MDIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock. "I also note that their success rate clearly indicates that they are better shots."

Overall, hunters enjoyed an increase in buck hunting success but a decrease in the number of adult does taken. Hunters with Any-deer permits in hand may have had additional opportunities to harvest a buck instead of doe and took the opportunity.

The annual deer projections that are calculated by department biologists in the late spring results from an analysis of mortality and reproductive rates, harvest trends, and any deer permit allocations to meet Wildlife Management District (WMDs) goals and objectives. For 2010, the department had projected a harvest of 20,918 for all WMDs. Thus, the statewide harvest was 4 percent less than projected.

In Maine, deer hunting contributes approximately $200 million annually to the economy.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Well, I know the numbers show

Well, I know the numbers show it, but you'd be hard pressed to find a singel hunter in the northern tier that will tell you the deer herd increased.

There still are way, way less deer up there than they used to be.  Sure, maybe the state as a whole was better, but they still need to figure out what's going on in the far north/northeast.

The other problem is going to be that this winter has been brutal.  Hopefully the gains that appear to have been made last year will not be lost this year.

hunter25's picture

Well it's good to see that

Well it's good to see that the Maine deer herd is doing well this year. Although it shows the percent of increase it does not show the actual success rate for the state. I was surprised that the number of deer harvested is so low for the size of the state. I guess the winters are usually pretty bad up there and keep the numbers low. I really don't know much abou the state of Maine but again any increase is a good one.