A third and final special deer hunt has been scheduled in Eastport from November 26 to December 8, as they continue to struggle to reduce their high population of deer.
In the two previous years the special hunt has resulted in the killing of 11 and 30 deer, far short of the goal of 90 deer each year. I doubt the hunt this year will be much more successful.
The city of Eastport actually administers the hunt for city residents and nonresidents and directs them to specific hunting spots where they must sit.
According to DIFW, deer-human conflicts, including residential property damage and vehicle accidents, have been steadily increasing in Eastport for more than a decade. A no discharge of firearms ordinance within the city, coupled with the limitations of archery hunting, and posted private property have contributed to an increase in deer numbers over time.
Eastport has also been subject to bucks only hunting for 11 of the past 13 years due to wildlife management district boundary changes in 2005 when Eastport became part of WMD 27.
The only new aspects of this year’s hunt are that previous successful hunters will automatically get a permit and they’re going to allow the use of cross bows for qualified applicants. Also those who shoot one deer will be able to get a permit to shoot another deer.
They plan on issuing permits to only 30 hunters. If there are any left after last year’s successful hunters get their permits, the remainder will be allocated by a lottery, with Eastport residents given priority.
The city of Eastport, in collaboration with DIFW, has undertaken a comprehensive process to determine the perspectives of residents towards deer management and to evaluate options to reduce the deer population. Eastport will continue to monitor applicable metrics to detect trends in deer related incidents and complaints.
DIFW Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso did tell me that next year Eastport hunters will once again be able to shoot does during the regular hunting season. I’m guessing that will be a lot more effective in reducing the population of deer than the special hunts have been.