Deer hunters are killing more deer thanks to a rebound in the population following severe consecutive winters that knocked back the numbers and hampered efforts to get into the woods to hunt.
Hunters during Maine’s 2013 deer season killed 24,795 deer, an increase of 15 percent over the 2012 harvest of 21,552 deer. The 2013 harvest is the third consecutive year the deer harvest has increased, reflective of a deer population that has grown since the back-to-back severe winters of 2008 and 2009.
The deer kill increased in almost every Wildlife Management District in the state, and the adult buck harvest once again increased over the previous season with hunters taking 16,765 bucks, which was an increase of 8 percent over the 2012 buck kill of 15,475.
Holding true to the harvest patterns seen in 2013, Maine’s youth hunters also saw an increase in harvest numbers, climbing from 570 deer in 2012 to 781 in 2013, representing an increase of 37 percent. Their harvest consisted of a total of 335 adult bucks, 280 adult does and 166 fawns. Once again, youth hunters were allowed to harvest antlerless deer without needing an Any-deer Permit in WMDs where permits were issued.
As the deer population continued to rebound, in 2013 IFW issued approximately 36 percent more permits than were issued in 2012. This resulted in an increase in the adult doe harvest of 5,307 animals, approximately 24 percent more than the 4,287 harvest in 2012. In 2013, IFW issued Any Deer permits in Wildlife Management Districts 3 and 6, representing the first antlerless deer harvests in those districts since 2000 and 2007, respectively. The allocation of permits to these WMDs resulted in a total adult doe harvest of 17 individuals from WMD 3, and 64 from WMD 6. It also was the first time since 2007 that Any Deer permits were issued in WMD 7 where the doe harvest was 34.
“The increase in the number of successful hunters last season reflects a growing deer population in much of the state,” said IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, “However, with the long, cold winter we experienced, it is prudent that we move forward thoughtfully in 2014 concerning the number of Any Deer permits issued.”
To help alleviate the impacts of deer nuisance issues in and around urban areas where bans on the use of firearms exist, the Department provides additional deer population management via deer harvests during an Expanded Archery season. Generally spanning a period greater than 70 days, this season allows hunters, whom have the appropriate license(s) and tags, to harvest one additional buck and potentially an unlimited number of does from within an identified Expanded Archery zone. The 2013 Expanded Archery season experienced an increase in harvest over the 2012 season by 13% from 987 deer to 1,122 deer.
This past winter marked the first in four years with above-average winter severity throughout the state, the first since 2009. As a result of the winter, IFW wildlife biologists have recommended decreasing the number of Any Deer permits throughout the state.
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