AUGUSTA — An additional 11 percent of hunters will receive permits for the fall moose hunt this year, but the number of any-deer hunting permits might be reduced by 20 percent because of the high number of does taken last season, state biologists announced Tuesday at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council meeting.

The IFW Advisory Council unanimously approved the 2,820 moose permits proposed by state biologists in March, the second consecutive annual increase following a four-year stretch when permits were reduced by half because so many moose were killed by a winter tick parasite.

State deer biologist Nathan Bieber proposed issuing 68,145 any-deer permits for the fall hunt, a 20 percent reduction from last year’s record number of 84,745.

The state recorded 32,451 deer taken last season, including 9,659 does, according to IFW. It was the first time in over a decade that state biologists exceeded their doe-harvest objective, which was 8,959 last year, Bieber said.

Any-deer permits allow a hunter to kill a doe or a buck – although many hunters allotted such permits still prefer to harvest a buck.

“A lot of that (high doe harvest) had to do with the fact we issued a lot of permits, but it also had to do with kind of a weird season as far as weather is concerned,” Bieber said.


There were three rainy weekend days during the fall hunt last season, making for poor hunting conditions on days most hunters go out. As a result, many hunters who were unable to harvest a buck earlier in the season took advantage of their any-deer tags so they didn’t go home empty handed.

Severe winter conditions in northern and western Maine this year also influenced the number of any-deer permits issued for next season, but Bieber said the high doe harvest last year was the biggest reason.

The any-deer system has been used by state biologists to manage the statewide deer herd – now an estimated at 230,000 to 250,000 white-tailed deer – since 1986.

Last year’s 84,745 any-deer permits was a 28-percent increase over the year before (66,050). However, from 2008 to 2017 the number of any-deer numbers was much lower – 26,000 to 50,000. From 2002 to 2007, the number was 66,000 to 76,000, more in line with this year’s proposal.

Also this year, state biologists want to institute two areas for special hunts called “subunits,” where bonus any-deer permits would be given out. The areas would be in Georgetown and Arrowsic, and an area from Brewer to Castine farther up the coast. Both these two areas are seeing elevated levels of Lyme disease, deer-vehicle collisions and public complaints about deer decimating shrubs and gardens, according to IFW.

If approved by the advisory council, the subunit of Georgetown and Arrowsic would get 270 bonus permits and the subunit from Brewer to Castine would get 200 bonus permits.

Bieber said people in Georgetown are especially interested in reducing the number of ticks, so he’s going to help recruit hunters in that town.

Ed Goud, president of the Wiscasset Rod and Gun Club, said Georgetown has many more deer than on the Wiscasset peninsula, but because houses in Georgetown are so close together, there are few places to hunt.

“(In) Wiscasset, the houses are more spread out,” Goud said. “(IFW) probably won’t get what they want (in Georgetown). The deer are right in everyone’s yard. They’re not in a spot where you can shoot them. I build houses along the coast. The deer travel from yard to yard. There aren’t too many places you can hunt there.”

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