While we’ll harvest the largest number of deer since 2004, Maine is still challenged to recruit deer hunters, particularly nonresidents.
I was very pleased this year that my son Josh, who lives in Massachusetts, came up to hunt, something he hasn’t had time to do for many years, and he got a nice 4-point buck Thanksgiving morning.
DIF&W can now tell us, quickly, how many deer are being harvested, thanks to the new equipment at each registration station. For comparison, they still are not sure how many deer were taken last year.
A total of 30,299 were taken by the end of the regular firearms season. And the department expects about 1500 to be taken by muzzle-loaders.
We haven’t taken more than 30,000 deer since 2004, when 30,926 were harvested. In 2017 we took 27,233 deer. In 2009 we took 38,153 deer.
So, you can see, even though DIF&W sharply increased doe permits to 84,745, a 28 percent increase, we’re still not harvesting that many deer.
I’ve asked DIF&W how many of the harvested deer were bucks and how many were does, but I have not yet received that information. So, I’ll probably wait and write a final column on the deer harvest after the muzzleloading season ends.
They did tell me their doe quota this year was 8,759, and their projected buck harvest was 16,850. Deer biologist Nathan Bieber said, “We typically take just under half the number of fawns as does, so we’d expect 4,000 or so fawns if our doe harvest was 8,759.”
Good luck if you are still out there deer hunting. The muzzleloading season became my favorite, mostly because there were so few hunters that I had the woods to myself.