By Chris Berens, D&DH Intern
The state of Maine is taking action to restore the white-tailed deer herd to its former glory in many parts of the state after several years of decreasing harvest numbers. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, is spearheading the plan. According to an article in The Portland Press Herald, the DIFW has received pressure from the governor, legislature and hunters to do something about the shrinking deer herd. The deer population is estimated to be about half of what it once was, and falling harvest numbers have reflected that fact. Rebuilding the herd is now the number one priority for the department. It has already reduced either-sex deer permits for the upcoming season by 46 percent, and opened up greater opportunities to hunt coyotes, the top deer predator in the state.
All but the southernmost areas of the state have seen the drastic decline, the DIFW states. The main factors that have attributed to the decline include several recent severe winters, diminished deer wintering areas, predation and improper supplemental feeding. The next steps in Maine’s Plan For Deer will be to improve the identification and management of deer wintering areas, and continue to control the coyote population.
Maine has a long and storied deer hunting tradition, and strives to keep its reputation as a top deer destination for hunters in search of big woods and big deer. The state has over 170,000 deer hunters that contribute $280 million and 4,500 jobs to the state’s economy, according to The Portland Press Herald article. The DIFW pledges to continue to update and adapt its deer management plan to do what is best for the state’s economy and its cherished natural resources.