Applications available for any-deer permit lottery
Applications for 2018 any-deer (antlerless) permit lottery are now available online from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. To apply visit www.mefishwildlife.com. Online applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 15.
It is free to apply for the any-deer permit lottery. The drawing will be held on Sept. 7 and results will be posted on the department website.
For this coming deer season, a total 84,745 any-deer permits are proposed for 22 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts across the state, an increase of 28 percent. Last year, there were 66,050 permits available to hunters. Hunters who do not receive an any-deer permit are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer (with some exceptions during archery season and on youth day).
This year, make sure to also apply for a bonus permit, as there are likely to be wildlife management districts where there are more any deer permits available than there are hunters who apply. In these districts, hunters can get a bonus antlerless permit for no charge if they apply and are selected. Last year, bonus permits were awarded in WMDS 20, 21, 22, 24, and 29 which are located in southern, central and coastal Maine.
Hunter success rates are much higher for those with an any-deer permit. Generally, success rates for deer hunters in Maine hover around 15 percent but those with an any deer permit harvested a deer over 20 percent of the time.
Permit numbers are increasing in nine southern and central wildlife management districts, are decreasing in 11 WMDs and staying the same in nine WMDS. The complete numbers are at https://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting-trapping/any-deer-permit.html#permitallocations. The permit numbers reflect that the 2017-18 winter was more moderate in central and southern Maine, while up north the winter was a little more severe than years past.
The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. The ability to enact change in the state’s deer populations derives from the ability to increase, or decrease, the number of breeding female deer on the landscape. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends.
Deer hunters in Maine harvested 27,233 deer in 2017, the highest total in the last ten years and an increase of 15 percent from 2016. Maine’s deer hunt is broken down into several seasons for firearm hunters, muzzleloaders and bow hunters. Most deer are harvested during the general firearms season (23,288), which started Oct. 28 and continued until Nov. 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 taking a deer this year.
Deer hunting in Maine provides many Maine families with wild game meat that is high in nutrition, sustainable, free range, and organic. On average, a 150-pound field dressed deer will provide close to 70 pounds of meat.
Deer hunting season (firearms) begins with Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday, Oct. 20. Youth may take a buck statewide or an antlerless deer only in the wildlife management districts where any-deer permits will be issued this fall.
This year, Maine Residents Only Day is on Saturday, Oct. 27 and regular firearms season for deer runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 24. Once again this year, a nonresident who owns 25 or more acres of land in Maine and leaves land open to hunting, holds a valid hunting license, and is not otherwise prohibited by law, may hunt deer on the Resident Only Day.