Augusta, Maine – 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 www.mefishwildlife.com.

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