November 18, 2018

Maine’s Disturbing Deer Harvest Trends

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Although still not published on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) website, some news outlets are reporting that Maine hunters surprisingly harvested a total of 27,233 deer in 2017, an increase over the previous season of about 15% but far from the near 37,000 in 2000.

The increase is being given to a growing deer herd…well, at least in southern and central Maine, while the rest of the state evidently is just devastated by global warming (severe winters). MDIFW intends to issue more “Any-Deer Permits” hoping that even though last year’s ADPs never got filled in the majority of Wildlife Management Districts. Without more hunters, I’m not sure how more ADPs will cause more deer to be killed. But we’ll see.

Below is a completed graphic by my graphs guru which includes the 27,233 harvest figure. But I am more and more clearly beginning to see a disturbing pattern that needs some answers.

From the graph we see that while the number of deer harvested in 2017 increased 3,721, the number of 200 lb. bucks harvested actually dropped by one, instead of a logical near 15% increase if all things were remaining relative. The graph also shows that the percentage of big bucks harvested in relation to the overall kill continues to shrink and that we are approaching half the number of big bucks that were taken in the year 2,000.

There could be several contributing factors to this event but the trend appears to be putting Maine in the same league with a lot of other small deer states further reducing the appeal to hunt deer and/or come to Maine and hunt big bucks.

I’ll take a closer look at this if we EVER get to see the harvest reports for 2017.

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