AUGUSTA, Maine – Deer hunters in Maine harvested 27,233 deer in 2017, the highest total in the last ten years and an increase of 15% from 2016.
“An increasing deer herd in southern and central Maine, and favorable hunting conditions contributed to the best deer hunting season in ten years,” said Nathan Bieber, MDIFW Deer Biologist.
Maine’s deer hunt is broken down into several seasons for firearm hunters, muzzleloaders and bow hunters. This year the season framework stretched from September 9 to December 9. Most deer are harvested during the general firearms season (23,288), which started on October 28th and continued until November 25. Bowhunters took 2,099 deer, and hunters took 970 deer during the muzzleloading season. Maine’s junior hunters were also very successful on youth day, with 876 youth hunters taking a deer this year.
“Deer hunting is large part of Maine’s cultural heritage. Each year, over 200,000 hunters head into the woods of Maine,” said Bieber. “Hunting also provides many in Maine with a sustainable source of high quality, organic, free-range protein.”
The deer hunting season allows the department to manage the deer herd and provide wildlife watching and hunting opportunity in much of the state while decreasing the deer population in other areas in order to reduce deer/car collisions and property damage, and prevalence of lyme disease.
Adult bucks by far comprised the vast majority of the harvest, with hunters taking 18,255 antlered bucks. With 66,050 anterless permits issued, hunters harvested 8,978 antlerless deer.
According to Maine’s deer hunter surveys, on average deer hunters spent 37 hours hunting deer during the season, averaging 4.3 hours afield each trip.
For this coming deer season, a total 84,745 any-deer permits are proposed for 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management