858 Maine Deer Fed To Lions


My friend Bob Miner recently told me that in the last year he has picked up 858 deer killed along Central Maine’s roads. Bob and his wife Julie own DEW Haven in Mount Vernon, a zoo and animal rescue facility. They feed the deer to their lions.

I was surprised so many deer were killed along the roads because Bob travels no more than an hour in a particular direction to pick up the deer. He does get calls from all our area police agencies and game wardens.

The Haven, which you can learn more about at dewhaven.com, is open to the public at times and is a fascinating place. Here is how it is described on their website:

The DEW Haven is dedicated to providing a safe haven for our animals, and promoting society’s education regarding animal wellness, respect, and conservation.  DEW Haven is a working farm, not a commercial zoo—think rustic nature versus concrete.  Founders, Bob and Julie Miner, built DEW Haven from the ground up starting as a farm in 1980, and transforming into a zoo and rescue.  After years of blood, sweat, tears, and laughter—with help and support from friends and volunteers—DEW is now haven to over 200 animals from all over the world. Bob and Julie live with the animals and dedicate their lives to them.  They strive to educate the community with fun, educational, interactive tours, in hopes to help people understand animals’ futures are everyone’s responsibility.

I encourage you to visit to see all of these animals which include Maine animals (I love the bears) and fascinating animals from around the world.

Bob and Julie’s house is in the middle of the Haven. I’ll never forget the first time I was standing on the second-floor deck and looked down to see a lion looking up at me. I think he was drooling!

When they start feeding the lions, the animals roar and I can hear them at my house about a mile and a half away.

One year a fellow from Portland came up to hunt with me. He didn’t do a lot of hunting so I decided to have fun with him. I told him that mountain lions had been seen on my woodlot so he should be prepared.

As we walked through the thickest part of my bog, the lions started roaring. It sounded like they were very close by. I glanced back at my friend, his eyes were huge and he was trembling. All I said was, “Be ready. Be ready.” I waited until lunch time to tell him about the Haven and he was not happy with me!

At one point, a federal permit for the lions required Bob and Julie to choose someone who could organize a shooting group should a lion get loose. So, they picked me for that federal permit and I prayed for years for a lion to get out. Alas it never happened.

We have been seeing lots of deer in my neighborhood including one doe with twin fawns, so I’m predicting a really good deer hunting season this fall. The lions don’t get all the deer in central Maine!

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, georgesmithmaine.com, 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.