Last year’s special hunt, during the last two weeks of December, authorized only 30 hunters to shoot one deer each. And just 11 does were killed. “As anticipated, the 2016 special hunt did not result in significant reduction of does or a reduction in deer-human conflicts,” reported the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
This year’s hunt is still limited to 30 hunters, although after each one shoots a deer, another 60 permits will be available. The hunt is limited to bows, and hunters are required to sit in designated stands, rather than hunt through the area.
The DIF&W believes the increase in deer-human conflicts in Eastport is the result of three combined factors:
- No hunting for does in WMD 27, to which Eastport was assigned in 2005
- A municipal “no discharge of firearms” ordinance that restricts hunting to bows
- Limited areas to hunt outside of the congested residential neighborhoods on this 3.6 mile island.
The 2017 hunt is scheduled for the two weeks immediately following the regular firearms season. And hunters will again be limited to specially placed stands. Last year there was a debate about allowing the hunters to place deer bait in front of their stands, but the people of Eastport did not want to allow that.
It seems to me that baiting makes sense, given that the entire goal is to kill deer. This is not hunting. It is killing.
27 permits will go to Eastport residents and just 3 to nonresidents. The permits are issued in a lottery. Last year 141 hunters applied for a permit. The permits allow only does to be killed.
DIF&W will distribute a survey to Eastport residents to assess their satisfaction with the special hunt and the current population of deer. “We’re going to measure success by the satisfaction of residents, not the number of deer killed,” said Judy Camuso, DIF&W’s Wildlife Division Director. She also reported that during the regular season, Eastport hunters will be allowed to shoot does. That should help.