October 4, 2022

MDIFW Reveals Inept Deer Management

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While most are explaining away why the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) reduced the number of “Any-Deer- Permits, perhaps unknowingly, the Portland Press Herald reveals to readers a couple of terrible mismanagement events of the state’s whitetail deer herd. The first admission was:

Ravana said the last time Maine saw two similar back-to-back winters was in 2008 and 2009, when there was widespread mortality among the whitetail herd. He said the department reacted too slowly at the time, increasing any-deer permits by 3,000 in 2010 and then slashing them by 46 percent the following year in an emergency measure to help the decimated herd.

Of course we are not told the reason “the department reacted too slowly.” Was it greed for those tax dollars the department gets for selling permits? Or was it just a matter of terrible deer management? Or a combination of both?

The second issue is:

…yearly estimates [of deer population] were not available from 2004 to 2013.

How do you properly management a deer herd without calculating approximate deer populations? These are just more explanations and substantiations that one of the reasons the Maine deer herd is suffering is due to a poor deer management system – maybe the management system is fine, but the application of it stinks. Maybe the department just stroked that golden goose once too often.

I have no issue with MDIFW reducing deer permits in those regions that need it. What’s at issue is whether or not it should have come to a point where harsh measures are necessary to manipulate the deer herd. Severe winters do play a role in deer management but managers can’t keep blaming harsh winters. Maine has always had harsh winters but Maine has not always had a struggling deer herd.

Wildlife officials say they want to be conservative in managing the state’s whitetail deer herd, after two harsh winters.

Source: Maine reducing deer hunting permits by 23 percent to protect herd – The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram