Maine harvests about the same amount of deer as New Hampshire and Vermont combined. But those states do a better job of compiling and publishing their harvest information on a timely basis. As we near the end of February, we still don’t know what the deer harvest was last fall.
The delay is blamed on some registration station agents who have not submitted their tagging information yet. There was a time when game wardens picked up the tagging books at the registration stations and delivered them to Augusta, but apparently they don’t do that anymore.
A story about the 2014 deer harvest in New Hampshire and Vermont, published in the Northern Woodlands News, grabbed my attention. Here’s what I read:
According to New Hampshire deer team leader Dan Bergeron, preliminary figures indicate that 11,464 deer were harvested in the state in 2014. That’s an 8% drop from last year but the ninth largest harvest since record-keeping began in 1922. Roughly 40% of the harvest was antlerless deer (does and button bucks). In Vermont, deer team leader Adam Murkowski reported 13,590 deer harvested – a drop from 2013 but in line with the three-year average. Antlerless deer made up 41% of the total harvest. Prior to this year’s hunt, Vermont’s deer herd was estimated to be 135,000 deer. New Hampshire had a pre-hunt population of about 100,000.
Let’s take a look at Maine’s 2013 deer harvest data, for comparison. That year, we harvested 24,795 deer, a 15% increase over 2012. 8,035 (32.4%) were antlerless deer. And the current information on the website of Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife reports a statewide population of 255,000 deer. So in 2013, we harvested 9.7 percent of our deer, and 32.4 percent were antlerless deer.
In other words, if you want a buck, your chances are better in Maine. As DIF&W noted in its 2013 deer harvest report, “Maine is well known for harvesting larger than average adult white-tailed deer, and the 2013 season was no exception. This year 25% of the 4,235 hunter harvested bucks, on which MDIF&W biologists counted antler points, sported antlers having 8 or more total points.”
New Hampshire Vermont Maine
Population 100,000 135,000 255,000
Harvest 11,464 (2014) 13,590 (2014) 24,795 (2013)
Percentage 11.5 10.1 9.7