June 17, 2019

Maine’s Wintering Deer Have a “New Normal”

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When I read V. Paul Reynolds article the other day, I about fell out my chair. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. But, I’m glad I read it. I wonder if it has any real value?

Ryan Robicheau, a state wildlife biologist who oversees and monitors Maine’s deer yard situation, according to Reynolds, said “…that there is “a new normal” in Maine’s deer wintering areas. He believes that coyote predation pressure and more and more voluntary winter feeding programs by citizens is having an impact on deer wintering habits. (They are staying closer to town near the feed and away from coyotes).”

Maybe there is hope. I have been asking for years if someone would please explain to me how blaming the lack of so-called deer yards (Deer Wintering Areas) for poor deer numbers could be a legitimate excuse when many of the existing yards are vacant, or nearly vacant, during the winter. I have contended for some time that deer have a lot more adaptability than people, including our deer biologists, give them credit.

Prey species, like deer, are not stupid. Why go hang out where they know they will become dinner for coyotes, bobcats, lynx, etc. when they can move into more heavily human-populated areas where it is safer?

If the population of your Maine hometown is half what it was when you were growing up, does that mean all those people died? Or perhaps that they moved someplace else.

It’s time to figure this stuff out. How can Maine devise a viable 15-year deer management plan if they are still looking for deer where they ain’t?

 

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