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Terrific Year for Deer Hunters in Maine

December 2, 2018

With the regular firearms season for deer concluding Saturday, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s new online registration system showed deer hunters had a very good year in the state, likely the best in over 15 years.

The numbers are still preliminary, but as of Nov. 26, hunters in Maine had taken 30,299 deer, the most since 2004 when the deer kill was 30,926. With the muzzleloading season beginning Monday, it is likely the 2018 deer kill will surpass that 2004 total, but will fall short of the 38,153 deer taken in 2002.

With the new online registration system, MDIFW biologists monitored the season and harvest. While the number of deer taken the first two Saturdays was close to 2,000 deer lower in 2018 compared to 2017, the last two Saturdays of the season showed the opposite, with hunters taking a little over 2,000 deer more than 2017. Weekday totals the last week and a half of the season were higher than last year as well.

MDIFW biologists expected to see a higher deer kill this season due to the increase in the number of any deer permits issued. A total of 84,745 any-deer permits were issued in 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts, an increase of 28 percent from the previous year. One reason for the permit increase is that the 2017-18 winter was more moderate in central and southern Maine, while up north the winter was a little more severe than year’s past.

Deer seasons began the Saturday after Labor Day and will continue until Dec. 8. These structured seasons, along with controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 wildlife management districts across the state through the Any Deer permit system, allows biologists to manage deer population trends.

New Hampshire moose hunters scored well, with 69 percent taking home a moose. The tally was 35 bulls and six cows, according to biologist Kristine Rines.

Those animals were killed in in all regions of the state with the Connecticut lakes being the top producer with 90 percent of hunters taking an animal. Some 6,140 people entered the lottery drawing.

The New Hampshire Wildlife Heritage Program has donated $15,500 to the State Fish and Game.

New Hampshire deer hunters are scoring very well, with the harvest up 5 percent over last year. As of this past Tuesday, hunters took home 11,358 deer. The season concludes with the archery season Dec. 15.

The Massachusetts deer season opened Monday to decent skies and some snow on the ground. This allowed for hunters to track deer and have one little step up on these tough animals.

The check stations have been doing a brisk business in Ayer and West Boylston. Sometimes the wait has been a half hour to register your deer, but most hunters never mind as they stand around with bragging rights.

I received a email for Marion Larsen, former EPO and now with the Mass Wildlife, regarding my last article on how many rounds you can place in your shotgun. She said it is legal to put more than five and if your gun were to take seven so be it.

Jim Kearns of Westford brought home a huge 10-pointer at 191 pounds, Skip James an 10-pointer at 216 pounds, Bob Amero of Townsend a fat doe at 122 pounds, and James Small of Oakham 150 pounds.

So if you got meat? Drop me a line. Glad to hear from you.

There were four New Jersey men who were fined $2,000 to $3,000 each for poaching 26 stripe bass in September. The judge put the hammer down on these guys and said enough is enough.

Bill Biswanger’s email address is bboutdoor1@aol.com

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