Any-deer permits decreased nearly 20% this year

DIFW will reduce any-deer permits by nearly 20% this year. Last year they issued 84,745 permits. This year they will issue 68,145 permits, in 20 WMDs. The decrease comes in the northern and western sections of the state, where DIFW is concerned about the impact of a severe winter.

Interestingly, they are increasing permits “in areas experiencing elevated levels of Lyme disease, deer-vehicle collisions, and public
complaints about deer.” And 9 WMDs will get no any-deer permits.

I’m giving you DIFW’s explanation of their decision. At the end of the column is their table showing the number of permits by WMD.

DIFW Explanation

The Department allocates any-deer permits by Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs)
to limit the number of antlerless deer taken by hunters in each WMD.
Allocations vary across the state, reflecting the different quality of deer habitat and potential to support and grow
deer populations in each WMD. ADP recommendations are based on removal rates of adult does that will
stabilize, increase, or decrease deer densities, according to the publicly
derived goals in the deer management system.

The winter of 2018-19 was mild to moderate in central, southern,
and coastal Maine and severe to very severe in northern Maine and the western
mountains. This resulted in average to above-average estimated survival rates in central, southern, and coastal Maine and below average survival rates in northern and western
Maine. In addition to annual ADP recommendations, we are also implementing issuance of bonus antlerless deer
permits in two sub-units. These permits will allow hunters additional opportunity to harvest deer in areas
experiencing elevated levels of Lyme disease, deer-vehicle collisions, and public complaints about deer.

For 2019, the Department will issue a total of 68,145 ADP to be
issued across 20 WMDs, including 470 bonus antlerless permits in two deer management subunits, to meet our doe
harvest objective of 7,966 does. This is a decrease in permits of 19.6% from 2018 (84,745 ADP). Subjected to
severe winter conditions and/or with deer populations below goal, WMDs
1, 4, 5, 7, 10-13, and 19 will be restricted to bucks-only harvest. Having
achieved an increased doe harvest in 2018, we will not be compensating for
under-harvest of does in 2019, which has led to a decreased recommendation in
many of our central and southern WMDs.

We continue to try to maximize doe harvest in WMD 29 to target
difficult-to-hunt coastal and island deer populations. Two deer management subunits have been implemented for 2019
in WMDs 25 and 26. Deer management subunit 25a will consist of the towns of Arrowsic and Georgetown and offer 270
bonus permits. Deer management subunit 26a will consist of portions of the
towns of Brewer, Bucksport, Castine, Dedham, Holden, Orland, Orrington, Penobscot, and Verona and we are recommending 200
bonus permits,

Department held a public hearing on June 20, 2019, and no members of the public
attended. There were 35 written comments received which were acknowledged and
forwarded to the Commissioner’s
Advisory Council members and Department staff. Most of the written comments
(33) were forwarded to the Department
by a member of the Georgetown/Arrowsic community in favor of the WMD 25a subunit. Due to property damage, deer/car
accidents, ticks and instances of Lyme disease in the area many of the
residents were in favor of the proposed subunit and the issuance of additional
antlerless deer permits in the area.
One comment was received in favor of allocations
for WMD 26, and one comment was received in opposition to the allocations in
WMD 23 stating they thought the number of permits was too high.

reviewing public comments and discussion with staff,
the Commissioner moved forward with the permit numbers originally proposed for each WMD. The Advisory Council gave
their consent on July 10, 2019 and of the
nine (9) members present, voted unanimously to adopt the proposal as presented.


WMD # of Permits WMD # of Permits  
WMD 1 0 permits WMD 17 8,200 permits  
WMD 2 25 permits WMD 18 125 permits  
WMD 3 25 permits WMD 19 0 permits  
WMD 4 0 permits WMD 20 6,000 permits  
WMD 5 0 permits WMD 21 8,250 permits  
WMD 6 100 permits WMD 22 9,700 permits  
WMD 7 0 permits WMD 23 9,750 permits  
WMD 8  25 permits WMD 24 6,400 permits  
WMD 9 25 permits WMD 25 7,900 permits  
WMD 10 0 permits Subunit 25a 270 bonus permits  
WMD 11 0 permits WMD 26 325 permits  
WMD 12  0 permits Subunit 26a 200 bonus permits  
WMD 13 0 permits WMD 27 25 permits  
WMD 14 25 permits WMD 28 25 permits  
WMD 15 3,150 permits WMD 29 1,500 permits  
WMD 16 6,100 permits      
    TOTAL PERMITS: 68,145



George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.