Press Release

October 31, 2013

IFW News -- 2013 Deer Season Preview

For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

In the 2013 Deer Season Preview, you will find the following releases:

Hunters Excited About Deer Season as Deer Population Rebounds

Hunting In Maine Is Big Business

ake Sure Your Deer Hunt Is A Safe Hunt

Hunters Can Help The Hungry

Maine White-tailed Deer Facts

Hunters Excited About Deer Season As Deer Population Rebounds

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Deer hunters are excited about the upcoming season, as deer numbers have rebounded from the back-to-back severe winters of 2008 and 2009. As a result, IFW wildlife biologists are expecting an increased deer harvest for the third straight year.

The firearm season for deer opens on Saturday, November 2 for residents and Monday, November 4 for nonresidents. The firearm season for deer concludes on November 30.

“Through strong management, conservation and some milder winter weather, Maine’s deer herd has rebounded,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Hunters are excited as they are seeing more deer throughout the state. We wish them good luck this season, and as always, we urge everyone to be safe while enjoying Maine’s great outdoors.”

Kyle Ravana, Maine’s deer biologist, estimates that if normal hunting conditions and hunter effort prevail, this year’s dear kill will be in the 25,750 range, nearly a 20 percent increase from last year’s kill. The total deer kill for the last ten years is as follows: 2012 – 21,553; 2011 – 18,839; 2010 – 20,063; 2009 – 18,092; 2008 – 21,062; 2007 – 28,885; 2006 – 29,918; 2005 – 28,148; 2004 – 30,926; 2003 – 30,313.

“After the severe winters of ’08 and ’09, the department instituted ‘Maine’s Game Plan For Deer’, a three-pronged approach to restore Maine’s deer herd,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “The three core principles of the game plan for deer include protecting and enhancing deer wintering areas, deer population management and focused predator control.”

At the core of Maine’s deer management program is the any-deer permit system, which regulates the harvest of does. One male deer will breed with multiple does, so by adjusting the number of female deer removed from the population, biologists can manage the deer population.

Maine’s wildlife biologists monitor winter severity throughout the state from December through April to determine the impact that winter weather has on deer survival. Maine is at the northern edge of the white-tailed deer’s population range, and severe winters can negatively impact Maine’s deer population. Recently, northern Maine has experienced four consecutive milder-than-average winters, and southern Maine has experienced two.

Maine’s biologists also examine thousands of deer for disease, analyze deer teeth to determine age structure of the harvest, monitor antler beam and growth for health and conduct hunter surveys to determine hunter effort and sightings. All combine to give department biologists a clearer picture of the health and size of Maine’s deer population.

The deer harvest has increased for the past three out of the last four years since hitting a low point following the severe winters of 2008 and 2009, a strong sign of a growing deer population. More importantly, several other indicators show that the deer herd has rebounded. Maine’s buck (male deer) harvest has increased for four straight years, and there have been record buck harvests in several wildlife management districts.

Harvest trends support the fact that the population has rebounded. Last year, WMD 3 in Eastern Aroostook County had its highest buck harvest ever, and WMD 6, while not a historical high, had one of its highest buck harvests ever. As a result of the increasing deer population in WMDs 3 and 6, the department issued any-deer permits in these WMDs 3 and 6 for 2013. Hunter surveys also show that hunters are seeing more deer.

Most telling is the annual buck kill, an index used by the department to note trends in the population. Maine’s buck kill has increased each of the past four years. Last year’s buck harvest increased 23% from the previous year. In much of the state, the buck kill exceeded the 10-year average, another sign the deer population has rebounded.

Perhaps more noticeable is the anecdotal evidence supporting the biological trends.

“There’s a buzz about the deer season. People are emailing, calling, telling us about the number of deer they are seeing,” said Ravana. “Now is a good time to be a hunter in Maine.”

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For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

Hunting In Maine Is Big Business

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Over 200,000 people hunt in Maine each year, and those hunters generate over $200 million in direct sales, supporting business such as restaurants, gas stations, sporting goods stores, motels and other small family owned businesses.

According to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters in Maine spent $98 million on food, lodging and transportation in Maine.

Hunters spent an additional $60 million on equipment such as firearms, ammunition, hunting clothes, and other items; and $40 million on magazines, membership dues, permits, licenses and other related items.

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For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

Make Sure Your Deer Hunt Is A Safe Hunt:

 Always treat every firearm as if it was loaded  Be sure of your target, and what is beyond it.  Always keep the muzzle of your firearm pointed in a safe direction.  Unload your firearm before entering a dwelling, before entering a vehicle, or before storing it.  Sight in your firearm prior to hunting season.  Be sure that someone knows where you are headed, and when you plan to return.  Carry emergency survival gear, a flashlight, map and compass, matches and water.  Stop periodically to eat and re-hydrate yourself.  Wear two pieces of hunter orange that are in good condition.

For Immediate Release October 31, 2013
Hunters Can Help The Hungry

AUGUSTA, Maine – Hunters looking to help area food kitchens and pantries can donate game in order to combat hunger in Maine.

Hunters for the Hungry is a cooperative program in Maine sponsored by Maine Sportsmen and Sportswomen who care about the hungry, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Call 888-4DEER-ME for more information.

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For Immediate Release October 31, 2013

Landowner Relations is Important to Hunters, All Who Enjoy the Outdoors

AUGUSTA, Maine – Deer season is a Maine tradition, with close to 200,000 deer hunters participating throughout the state. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is once again urging hunters and all who enjoy the outdoors this fall to act appropriately while on private land.

“Over 90 percent of the state is privately owned, and it is the generosity of private landowners that sustain Maine’s outdoor traditions,” said Chandler Woodcock, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. “These landowners are a vital part of our outdoor community, and we hope that this fall, everyone who enjoys the outdoors on private land acts respectfully and appropriately.”

Hunters, as well as others, who utilize private land for outdoor recreation, are asked to keep these suggestions in mind while out enjoying the outdoors this fall.

Ask First If possible, please obtain permission before accessing private land. While it’s not the law, it’s the right thing to do, as both a courtesy and out of respect for the landowner. Don’t wait until the last minute to ask for permission, and provide the landowner with your name, address and what vehicle you will be driving.

Communicate with the landowner Ask where to park, and if there are certain areas that they would prefer you do not hunt. Remember, you need landowner permission to operate at ATV on the property of another, so make sure you get permission, verbal or written, before utilizing an ATV on someone else’s property. Ask for permission if you plan to use a tree stand or a ground blind, and if you leave a stand on his property, make sure it is appropriately marked with your name and address.

Respect the land and landowner Remember, you are the guest of the landowner, so please act appropriately. Carry out all your trash, and if possible, items left by others. Stay within the boundaries set by the landowner, and be aware of the location of buildings, dwellings, livestock, trails and agricultural or logging operations. Never block roadways or trails, and leave gates and barriers the way you found them.

Thank the landowner After your hunt, make sure you thank the landowner. If possible, offer to share some of your game with the landowner. After the season, follow up with a personal note or a holiday card thanking the landowner. Showing your appreciation go

As always, please obey all signs posted on property. A recent law change also has changed the silver paint stripe “Access by Permission Only” law. The new rule allows property owners to post their property “Access by Permission Only” by painting one purple vertical stripe at least one inch in width and at least 8 inches in length placed on trees, posts or stones between three and five feet off the ground. These stripes should be no more than 100 feet apart and the paint markings must be maintained so as to be conspicuous at all times. The vertical purple stripe replaces the two horizontal silver bars.

Without a doubt, public access is one of the biggest challenges facing hunters and others who enjoy the outdoors. Please remember that your actions reflect not only on you, but all who enjoy the outdoors. Please treat the landowner and land with respect.

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Maine White-tailed Deer Facts:

 Maine’s current deer population is approximately 203,000.

 Male white-tailed deer weigh between 100-300 pounds, and females weight between 85-130 pounds.

 White-tailed deer are found throughout the state, but there are more deer in the southern and central part of the state.

 During the summer months, deer will feed on grasses, deciduous vegetation, leaves and crops. In fall and winter, deer will feed on acorns and bark from oak, birch and maple trees, as well as cedar.

 Deer in Maine generally mate in mid- to late November, and females have a gestation period of 7 months. Female deer will produce 1-3 fawns, generally born in May and June.

 Black bear and coyotes are significant predators on fawns.

 In winter when snow depths exceed 16 inches, deer will yard in stands of conifers, forming a central resting area with trails packed through the snow. This dense cover with adequate browse is essential for winter survival.

 Deer hunting success during the 2012 firearms season is estimated to be 14%

 In 2012, Deer hunting success averaged 17%. Moose hunters had an 79% success rate in 2004, turkey hunters had a 38% success rate, and bear hunters a 30% success rate.

 Deer hunters in Maine killed 21,553 deer during the 2012 season.

 Maine’s regular firearm season attracts the most hunters (approximately 175,000) and accounts for the greatest share of the total deer harvest, which includes two archery seasons, the firearm season as well as a muzzleloader season, and stretches from the beginning of September through the middle of December. In 2012, 84% of the total deer harvest was taken during the four-week firearms deer season.

 Maine’s residents registered 92% of the deer harvest in 2012.

 The peak breeding time for deer in Maine is the third week of November, consistent with the peak for deer breeding activity from Nova Scotia to the Carolinas.

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