Maine will issue 68,145 any-deer permits this summer – 20 percent fewer than last year’s record number – after exceeding its goal for the doe harvest last year for the first time in more than a decade.

The decrease was proposed by state deer biologists in May and unanimously approved by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Advisory Council on Tuesday.

A record 84,745 any-deer permits were issued last year following a lower than projected doe harvest in 2017. The any-deer permit allows the option to harvest a doe, although many hunters still prefer to shoot a buck, which is legal with a valid hunting license.

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.

The state recorded 32,451 deer taken last season, including 9,659 does, according to IFW. The doe-harvest objective, set by state biologists, was 8,959.

The 84,745 any-deer permits issued in 2018 was a 28 percent increase over the year before (66,050).

Applications for the any-deer lottery are accepted until Aug. 15, and a drawing will be held for the winning permits on Sept. 6.

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