July 23, 2019

Maine 2018 Deer Harvest And Other Data

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It does seem a bit odd to be able to put together a deer harvest chart this early in the season. Thanks to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) for putting to use a new digital tagging system that, if nothing else, gives us hunters a fresh-in-our-minds look at the recent passed deer hunting season.

Below is the chart compiled by the best damned statistician Maine has. The most recent deer hunting season ended with a total deer harvest of 32,438. As has been stated, this total is a bit of an unexpected increase not totally because MDIFW decided to flood the market with a record number of “Any-Deer Permits” (ADP). Let’s hope the MDIFW will provide us with some data on whether the issuance of ADPs brought them closer to the number of female deer killed needed to meet goals.

In addition to the record ADPs issued, much of Maine saw ample snow to hunt on which always brings harvest numbers higher. It should be stated that it appears in a few areas of Central and Southern Maine deer populations are considerably higher than Western, Northern and Eastern Maine. Those areas are still experiencing low deer populations and thus deer harvests.

Looking at the numbers provided, there are a couple items that should be looked at. The number of big bucks (200 pounds or more and those registered with the Maine Sportsman’s Magazine) killed this past season was 559. What that means is that as a percentage of the total deer harvest, big bucks attributed to 1.72%. That figure tells us that the percentage of big bucks making up the harvest remains lower than the percentages from the years 2000 – 2004. The chart shows us that in comparison to the year 2000, big bucks killed was but 72% – i.e. 28% lower.

Looking at these numbers over an extended period of time is telling us that whatever MDIFW is doing in their deer management practices, fewer big bucks, as a percentage of the population, are being taken. Logic should tell us this equates to fewer big bucks in the overall population…sort of. There are other demographics that should be considered before any concrete conclusions can be made. However, the trend has continued for so long now, it appears that Maine is not making any effort to change this aspect of the deer herd.

Below is a photo from the Maine Sportsman of the biggest of the Big Bucks that were registered, weighing in at 300 lbs.

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