November 15, 2019

Plotting Deer Harvest on Map Paints Different Picture

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I was recently sent some information that originated on Troy Frye’s Facebook page. You can follow his link if you wish. I’ve taken a few minutes to shade an area of the Maine map that shows Wildlife Management Districts to better emphasize where all the deer are in Maine and where all the deer are being harvested. Along with the map, I will include some of the data that Frye compiled that paint an interesting picture of just how skewed the deer population is in Maine. (The maps are at the end.)

Frye’s data are compiled from the years 2014 – 2017 where he shows the greatest part of Maine’s deer harvest occurs in 9 of the 29 Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) – 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25. These 9 WMDs comprise the southwest corner of the state as is depicted on the map below.

I should like to point out that this shaded area of the map also includes the most densely human populated section of Maine. However, even though the human population is heavier in this region, the data tell us that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) issues 93% of all the “Any-Deer Permits” within this region – not because of the human population, we are told, but because of the deer population. (Are there more deer or more social conflicts?)

Here are some more interesting data that Frye provides:

82% of all “antlerless” deer are harvested in this region.

62% of all bucks harvested in the state are taken in this region.

68% of the total deer harvest is taken in this region.

And, in 2018, 95% of all the 84,745 (80,725) “Any-Deer Permits” allotted were issued for these 9 WMDs.

Looking at this from a geography stand point, it shows how deplete the majority of the state must be when it comes to deer population and harvest. Clearly, 3/4 of the state provides “OPPORTUNITY” to hunt deer but with slim chances of harvesting.

I would suppose that the way things are going, so long as the MDIFW blames all management failures on Climate Change, we should be hoping for more global warming in order to move that notorious “northern fringe” of the whitetail deer habitat further north. And once you buy into that, I’ve got a bridge in New York City I’m looking to sell.