AUGUSTA — State biologists on Tuesday recommended issuing 84,745 any-deer permits for this fall’s hunt — an increase of 28 percent from last year and the highest total since Maine launched its permit system in 1986.
State Wildlife Division Director Judy Camuso told the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Advisory Council that in all but six of the state’s Wildlife Management Districts the projected doe harvest was not reached last fall. State biologists projected a doe harvest of 7,114 in 2017 but the actual reported doe harvest was 5,950.
“This is one of the reasons for the proposed increase in permits for 2018,” said State Wildlife Biologist Nathan Webb.
The proposed increase in permits is a result of the goals and objectives set by the public in the state’s big-game management plan, which was recently revised.
Webb said the new big-game plan is still open for public comment, but state biologists made this year’s any-deer permit recommendations with an eye to the future goals set by the public in the past two years. Those goals include reducing deer numbers in the southern half of the state because of concerns with property damage and tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease.
Permits in hunting districts in northern Maine either stayed the same or were reduced because the winter severity was harder on deer this winter, Camuso said.
From 2002 to 2005 there were more than 70,000 any-deer permits allocated annually, but there has never been more than 80,000 since the any-deer permits were first issued in 1986.