Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs)

In 2000, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) undertook an effort to reduce the confusion of having different hunting zones for deer, moose, turkey, and waterfowl by designing a zoning system that met the management requirements for all species, while unifying boundary lines. As a result of that effort, Maine was divided into 30 parcels, and the term Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) was born.

Wildlife Management Districts are delineated, geographical sections of the State that have similarities in biological and geophysical characteristics. Factors such as geographical location (western mountains vs. downeast coastal plain), soils, predominant forest types (northern hardwoods vs. spruce-fir), seasonal temperature variations, precipitation including annual snowfall, land use (northern forest vs. agricultural), and human population and development, etc., are variables that ultimately influence habitat and the abundance and diversity of wildlife. For each WMD, we made a concerted effort to select clearly recognizable physical boundaries to reduce confusion for hunters.

Identification of Wildlife Management Districts benefits MDIFW and hunters in several ways. It helps biologists collect and evaluate data and fine-tune management recommendations. Hunters need refer to only one common set of boundaries for all species they pursue. We use all WMDs individually for managing deer. For other game, WMDs are combined, as needed, to form meaningful hunting zones.

Another benefit of WMDs is expanded hunting opportunity. Better refinement of wildlife population management leads to increased hunting opportunity and harvest for some species. With deer, the switch to WMDs allows us to better target areas where deer are under-utilized. Increased harvest opportunities have also been possible for moose, wild turkey, and some furbearers as we manage wildlife populations using Wildlife Management Districts.

In 2005, MDIFW made a number of changes to Wildlife Management Districts. Changes affect WMDs 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30 and result in the reduction of WMDs from 30 to 29 in order to consolidate areas with similar physical/habitat characteristics and deer densities. In addition, road/route references were updated throughout the WMDs as a result of E911 implementation and the Interstate exit redesignation.

We hope that you will find this information useful and thank you for your support of this Department's efforts to conserve Maine's wildlife and to provide opportunities for Maine's people to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors.