Maine DIFW: 2011 Deer Hunt Focuses on Species' Growth

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With the start of the statewide white-tailed deer season just days away, Maine hunters are reminded that recovering our state’s deer population is this year’s top priority.

DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock states, “We are proud at the Department of the progressive steps we are taking to grow our deer population. The lower number of doe permits, our increased initiatives with landowners addressing deer yard issues and our aggressive programs of predation control all address the fact that one of our priorities is to grow the deer herd in Maine.”

Woodcock also stated, “We have beautiful trophy bucks throughout Maine, and I hope to come out of the woods with one on Saturday!”

DIF&W deer biologist Lee Kantar added “to accomplish deer management objectives in 2011, we have set doe harvest numbers fairly low. By decreasing any-deer permits by 46 percent for the coming season, we hope to give a boost to deer numbers across the state for future growth.”

The 25-day regular firearms season on deer opens for Maine residents this Saturday, October 29th, and for non-residents the following Monday. The season ends on the Saturday following Thanksgiving (November 26th). Following this, the muzzleloader season will begin in statewide on November 28th and will end on December 3rd in Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) 1 through 11, 14, 19, 27 and 28. Elsewhere, the muzzleloader season will continue until December 10th. Crossbow archery season will coincide with modern firearms.

Hunters are allowed to take one antlered deer annually in Maine, although hunters with an any-deer permit are allowed to take either one antlered deer or one antlerless deer. A total of 26,390 any-deer (doe) permits have been issued for 2011, a sharp decrease from last season when more than 40,000 any-deer permits were handed out.

“It reflects the tremendous impact the harsh winters of 2008 and 2009 had on deer populations throughout the state and the significant winter mortality suffered by the herd in Maine,” Kantar said.

Kantar projects that roughly 4,800 antlerless deer will likely be harvested by hunters this fall. Antlered buck harvests should reach just under 12,000. In total Maine’s deer harvest will be down from 2010 and from previous years.

“This will be by design with the reduction in any-deer permits to help build the statewide population,” Kantar said. “Given all the information the Department uses to manage deer in Maine and the implementation of aerial surveys, it was determined the reduction in permits would be the best tactic for meeting wildlife management population objectives.

“In the end, hunters should expect a reduced statewide harvest but benefit down the road from increasing deer numbers for the coming years.”

For more information on deer hunting in Maine, or to view a complete summary of laws and regulations regarding hunting with firearms, visit


Retired2hunt's picture

  Then swisheroutdoors what


Then swisheroutdoors what do you think is the answer?  Do the resident hunters of the state or the DNR buy out these private companies (kind of like how the city owns the Green Bay footbal team) and make the needed changes so the deer have the feed plots and are able to rebound in numbers?  What is stopping the state DNR from working with these companies in generating the food plots?  If there is money in for the company in leasing the land out would that be an option?



numbnutz's picture

It sounds like officails are

It sounds like officails are taking agressive steps to grow the deer population. sometimes in recovery projects like this they need to limit or all together stop hunting in certain parts of the state. It kind of makes me chuckle a bit because out here in my part of the world and through out the western states mule deer number have been in the decline for years. The ODFW took hunters feed back and put together a management plan that included cutting the number of tag issued in certain units and the same hunters that requested that something needed to be done started complaining about the cuts. I personally wouldn't be against closing hunting altogether for a few years if it meant better hunting oppertunities in the future. The main issues we face are loss of habitat and predators. We have way to many cougars in the state and they are killing off too many deer. I really hope in Maines case they can rebound the deer population. I also hope they can get the private land owners to help by planting food plots and bettering the habitat. I dought that the land owners will just do it. I know out here the ODFW has programs that will compensate land owners with such projects but that also means some public access for hunting. I wish the state of Maine good luck with the management efforts and also wish the hunters good luck with the upcoming season.

Retired2hunt's picture

  With 22,500+ less tags


With 22,500+ less tags going out this year and literally none available in the northern districts I would think it should have a definite positive affect.  The focus of getting private property owners involved in generating feed plots should also have an affect.  It may take two or three years of this though in order to make a real difference.



swisheroutdoors's picture

Feed Plots

Feed plots by property owers is just not going to happen.  The largest land owners are Forest Companies.  If it doesn't make money they're not investing in it.  The second largest land owners are a couple of rich activists buying up property that supposedly was not available for sale under the Land Use Regulatory Commission and then locking it down.  Camp Lease owners for generations were told to get out.  Its changing the landscape and access to the outdoors in a major way.

swisheroutdoors's picture

It's About Time

I learned to hunt in the North Maine Woods the population is small to begin with.  It's about time and a good start but its not enough.  There were many hunters in Aroostook County that would have been ok with the North Maine Woods being a closed season for Deer for a few years.  This article doesn't mention it but the hard winters were ridiculous.  The deer yards are not as vast due to normal logging and the winters had snow so deep the deer just couldn't survive.  In some areas in my humble opinion the mortality rate was in the 80 percentile.  Then to turn around the following year and have another record snow fall year just devastated the deer population.  They should have shut it down the 1st year.  Big money during the hunting season so to close it would have hurt small business owners.  The deer are just not there.  We worked hard to harvest a trophy buck.  When you got one you earned it for sure or just lucky.  I need to look look into what DIFW refers to as "aggressive programs of predation control."  The only thing I know of is the ability to hunt Coyotes year round and a winter Night Coyote Hunting season.  An aggressive program to me would be a successful campaign to advocate for trapping of coyotes.  The past heritage of trapping is slipping away and not enough of it is going on to sustain predation control.  Coyotes put out litters all the time.  They are harder to hunt then Deer and guess where they hunt in the winter?  Deer Yards that are diminishing.  Coyotes aren’t wolves but let me tell you I’ve seen what a pack of coyotes can do and they are fully capable of bringing down a Bull Moose in heavy snow.  Trapping in my opinion is the most successful way to reduce predation.   I also see in the article that they combined archery with firearm season.  That stinks big time.  I took up archery in Maine with a recurve just to extend my hunting season.  More needs to be done to support regional efforts in growing deer populations.  Better landowner relationships is the key in Southern Maine to open more hunting opportunities up and better conservative management of Northern Maine property.