Press Release

November 8, 2013

IFW Hunting Report for November 8, 2013

For Immediate Release November 8, 2013

Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Wildlife Biologists

Region A – Southern Lakes Region

In Southern Maine, The deer hunt is off to a fine start.

“Good weather so far, people are seeing a lot of deer, but not necessarily taking a deer, especially those with any deer permits,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Scott Lindsay.

Lindsay did say that quite a few hunters were successful on opening day this past Saturday, and most of the deer brought to area tagging stations were younger age class, yearlings that were born last year. As the season moves along, older deer start to appear at the tagging station.

One deer of note was taken in Otisfield. Lindsay said this buck topped out at 260 pounds.

“Usually the week of Veterans Day, we start to see some of those older deer being registered,” said Lindsay.

There are a lot of hunters out, but Lindsay said they are spread out, and that while there are pockets of heavily developed areas, there certainly are plenty of undeveloped areas to hunt.

Interestingly, Lindsay has noticed that he is seeing a lot of people from other parts of the state coming to southern Maine to hunt.

“This past month, I received two calls from hunters who live in the St. John Valley,” said Lindsay. After hearing so much about the number of deer in southern Maine, the two hunters were calling to learn more about hunting in southern Maine and what they could expect if they came down here to hunt.

Region B – Central and Midcoast Area

What’s the one word that comes to mind when describing deer in central Maine?

“Exceptional,” says IFW wildlife biologist Keel Kemper, who uses the word when describing the number and size of the yearling deer in his area.

Kemper made his rounds Sunday to area meat cutters in order to gather biological samples of deer. He is excited by what he has seen.

“It’s a bumper crop,” says Kemper, who noted that the Sundays after opening day in recent years has been “dismal” when it comes to the number of deer at area cutters. However, this year is different.

“One cutter said business was terrible, only because he had to turn away deer,” said Kemper, who noted the cutter had no more room to store deer and was at capacity. “Guys that had five deer at this time last year now have 18 deer in the freezer.”

“These yearling deer are exceptional in size, quality and abundance,” said Kemper, who said they are getting yearling deer that are dressing out at over 160 pounds.

“There’s no shortage of enthusiasm, as the hunting conditions are good, and hunting effort is up in central Maine,” said Kemper.

If you are lucky enough to have tagged out on deer this season, try heading up to the Frye Mountain Wildlife Management area for some grouse hunting. Kemper said that several hunters have had good luck up there, and there is a “good crop of grouse.”

Region C -- Downeast

“Obviously, it’s still early, but the early returns show a surprisingly good opening day in terms of success,” said IFW wildlife biologist Tom Schaeffer.

While it was a little warmer than some hunters would have liked, it didn’t seem to impact many.

“Registrations are way up at tagging stations,” said Schaeffer, “They are showing some numbers that we haven’t seen in recent history.”

It’s still moose season in WMD 19, and there are 50 cow permits for the November season. Schaeffer has seen a few registered moose that were tagged earlier in the week.

Schaeffer noted that he got two unusual nuisance wildlife calls in the past two weeks that occurred on different coastal islands. The first was a moose that swam out to one of the islands, and a landowner was concerned about the moose browsing on his fruit trees.

On another island, a black bear was wreaking havoc with landowner’s lawns and fields. The bear was turning over the sod in search of food, and Schaeffer said it looked “like someone took a bulldozer to a field.”

The Islands provide very poor habitat for both moose and bear. A hunter shot the bear, which was malnourished and extremely emaciated, and Schaeffer expects that the moose will swim back to the mainland, if it already hasn’t.

Region D – Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains

Deer season is off to a strong start in the western mountains region of the state.

“Things are looking pretty good. In the southern part of the region, our deer numbers are back to where we were even pre-2008,” said IFW wildlife biologist Bob Cordes.

Word travels fast of big deer in the region, and already there was a 276 pound buck that was taken on opening day in Avon.

Cordes is encouraged by what hunters are telling him.

“People are seeing a lot of deer, and the number of big deer is swinging back up,” said Cordes who noted that it takes about three and half years for deer in this area to make the 200 pound mark.

It still is moose season in parts of this region, so biologists are out taking biological samples from harvested moose. The data collected will give biologists a clearer picture of the moose population in the area once it is analyzed this winter.

Region E – Moosehead Region

In the Moosehead Lake area, deer season has started, but for IFW wildlife biologist Scott McLellan, his focus is on moose season as the Greenville headquarters is a tagging station.

When a hunter brings in a moose to register, McLellan gathers a lot of biological data.

“We are collecting lungs, ovaries, checking lactation, taking a tooth, taking weights and taking blood samples,” said McLellan.

In some states, winter ticks on moose are a major concern. Maine wildlife biologists count the number of ticks in four different small areas of a moose to determine how prevalent winter ticks are in the area.

Biologists will also check to see if the moose is lactating, which tells if the moose had a calf this summer, and will preserve the ovaries to examine at a later date in order to help determine rates of calf production.

A tooth is also taken and later examined to determine the age of the moose, lungs are saved to see if there is lungworm and then finally a blood sample is drawn which will be examined to see if there is any signs of EEE (eastern equine encephalitis).

Opening day of deer season brought news of a piebald deer taken in the area. While not a true albino, these deer are mostly white, and their coloration is due to a recessive gene.

McLellan noted that there have been several deer over 200 pounds taken already, and one lucky hunter who came to the tagging station had both a deer and a moose.

Region F – Penobscot Region

The deer season has started strong in the Penobscot region

“In the southern part of the region, Corinth and Hudson, they are getting good numbers of deer,” said IFW wildlife biologist Allen Starr, “They are up to 40 in Corinth and 25 in Hudson.”

Starr has already seen some large deer, including several over 200 pounds.

“I’ve seen one that was 218 and another at 245,” said Starr, “there was another from the Katahdin Ironworks area that was 12 points and 232 pounds.”

“The deer are in really good condition and the necks on these bucks were swollen,” said Starr. “The season started a little later this year and the bucks are already moving.”

Starr is encouraged by what he has seen.

“Numbers are up at all of our tagging stations,” said Starr.

Region G – The County

The numbers are coming in, and hunters of all ages are doing well in the County.

“Youth day went well, we had 12 deer registered in Ashland, 11 in Presque Isle, and 7 in Mapleton,” said IFW wildlife biologist Rich Hoppe. “On residents opening day, effort was up considerably.”

“People are seeing more deer. The weather is good as it has been fairly cool most mornings. The bare ground and the cool weather keeps the deer moving,” said Hoppe.

It is also the last week of moose season in the county, and the numbers keep coming in.

“The first day, Quigley’s in Fort Kent tagged 67 moose and we tagged 65 in Ashland. The next day, Quigley’s was in the 60s and Ashland was in the 40s. Overall, people are still seeing a lot of moose,” said Hoppe.

Hoppe also noted the condition of the moose taken is excellent.

“The percentage of body fat on the moose is a lot higher. The just have tons of fat, and that goes hand in hand with the quality of the bulls. Calves seem to be 20-25% percent heavier,” said Hoppe.

“We’ve got excellent habitat, had good winters and the moose that are coming in are high-quality animals,” remarked Hoppe.