August 19, 2019

HURRAH! Maine Provides Deer Harvest Total

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For the first time ever, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has provided interested hunters with a pretty close estimate of what the total deer harvest was for 2018. This total includes all the seasons – 32,438. Wonderful.

According to the Bangor Daily News, the majority of the increase in deer harvest happened in Central and Southern Maine where a record number of “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP)¬†were issued, much to the chagrin of many who thought that increase, coming at a time when Maine is struggling to sustain a healthy viable deer population, was unwise. Nothing can be extrapolated from these early numbers as to the effects of a record number of ADPs and the real effect on the deer herds in Central and Southern Maine.

It should be a marvelous thing that hunters and other interested people can, while fresh in their minds, gain a better understanding of what just took place and carry that interest forward to following deer seasons. The way MDIFW has operated in the past by not providing any information on deer harvest has left many hunters with a feeling that MDIFW doesn’t care. Regardless of the reasons MDIFW failed to provide information that would have helped to give hunters a greater sense of ownership and involvement in deer management, hopefully that ancient and closed-mouth approach is history as MDIFW has entered the modern technological world when it comes to tabulating deer harvest.

What I am wondering is if MDIFW will provide the public with more information from these numbers – areas of increased harvest and why. Surely, with a record number of ADPs issued, one should expect the deer harvest would have had an increase. In addition, snow to hunt on for a good portion of the season had to have directly contributed to the increase. Let’s hope the increase harvest happened in those areas that MDIFW claims needed to be reduced and we haven’t further deteriorated a struggling deer herd.

We are all thankful for MDIFW getting this new technology into place. Now let’s keep the ball rolling and continue to improve on this. I have mentioned before that biologists and managers have access to essentially realtime tagging data. It should be with ease that MDIFW can place a page on their website where interested people can log in and view that same realtime data. The more that MDIFW can keep the interest of hunters growing, it will be a win-win for everyone. Let us more easily have access to that information. What’s to hide?¬†

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