November 17, 2018

Maine IFW Posts Ancient 2017 Deer Harvest Report…Sort of

Yesterday I noticed that finally, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) posted the 2017 deer harvest report.

A couple things to note: First, the report is dated June 13, 2018. If that was the actual date this report was completed, why did it take at least 2 more weeks to make it public? Or did they post-date it so they wouldn’t be guilty of setting a new tardiness record?

Second, when examining the map MDIFW uses to show the number of deer tagged within each town when you enlarge the map hoping to be able to read the town listed in each town’s boundary, it is illegible. Older reports don’t seem to have that problem. This becomes worthless for those trying to make comparisons from one year to the next without being able to distinguish the towns.

Third, beginning in 2012 MDIFW published what they call an “Age Report.” This report simply lists the estimated age of each deer tagged for that season. I wish it contained more information. The Age Report for 2017 has not been made public yet.

Incidentally, the total deer harvest for 2017 stands at 27,233.

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Nearly Three Quarters Of Maine Moose Hunters Successful In 2017

*Note* – In the Press Release below, the second paragraph states, “For success rates in all Wildlife Management Districts and in each season, please visit the 2017 Maine Moose Harvest Summary.” The problem with that is when visiting the website, at least at the time of this writing, accessing such a report appears to be impossible. the MDIFW website scrubbed publishing harvest data, we were told, and now they are telling us to visit the Harvest Summary, which can’t be found.

I copied “2017 Maine Moose Harvest Summary” and pasted it into the search box on the MDIFW website. The results gave what appears to be a link but the link gives only an error message. I also pasted the same search criteria into a Google search and received nothing.

Perhaps sometime in the future, that link will work. What is certain though is that the website evidently has no intention of making any information wanted easy to find. I curse some of the changes made to the site and I might suppose that was their purpose in doing so, i.e. accountability, or so it appears.

*Update* – Mar 7, 2018, 10:45 am. I placed the link above as I was able to find a link that worked. Still not sure the link on the MDIFW website is any good.

Press Release from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Despite warm spells during both the September and October moose seasons, 73% of all moose hunters harvested a moose last season.

With 2,080 moose permits issued, 1,518 hunters were successful in getting their moose. Hunter success rates varied throughout different regions of the state with over 80 percent of the hunters getting moose in Wildlife Management Districts 1-3 and 5 and 6 in Aroostook County. For success rates in all Wildlife Management Districts and in each season, please visit the 2017 Maine Moose Harvest Summary.

“Weather impacted many hunters, particularly the first week,” said IFW’s moose biologist Lee Kantar. “Moose tend to travel less and spend more time in cover when it’s hot. Hunter effort also declines.”

The 73% success rate for hunters is consistent with the 71% success rate for moose hunters over the past five years. Success rate for turkey hunters generally is over 30%, bear hunters in Maine are successful 25% of the time and deer hunters in Maine are successful 15-20% of the time.

Maine’s moose season is split into three segments with six-day seasons in September and October. Temperatures were above 80 degrees on the first few days of the season in September, and some warmer weather in the 70s prevailed during the early part of the October season.

“High success rates for moose hunters in northern Maine are consistent with what we are seeing with our moose survival study,” stated Kantar. “Adult survival rates are consistently high in our study areas, and calf survival rates are higher in our northern Maine study area compared to our western Maine study area.”

The radio collar study is just one component of the research that IFW conducts on moose. IFW also utilizes aerial flights to assess population abundance and the composition of the moose herd. During the moose hunting season, biologists also examine teeth to determine a moose’s age, measure antler spread, monitor the number of ticks a moose carries, and examine cow ovaries in late fall to determine reproductive rates.

Biologists are preparing to recommend moose permit numbers for the fall 2018 moose season. The number of available moose permits is based upon population numbers and the composition of the moose population in wildlife management districts, as well as the population goals and objectives for that district.

*Editor’s Comment* – It puzzles me, but then again a lot of things puzzle me, that in this press release, it says that “Moose tend to travel less and spend more time in cover when it’s hot. Hunter effort also declines.” And then goes on to tell us that temperatures during parts of the moose hunting season were in the 80s and/or in the 70s.

In addition, we are also told that the moose hunter’s success rate was 73% compared to the previous 5-year average of 71%. That amounts to about 20 moose, which doesn’t seem at all significant in the grand scheme of things. So what’s the point of the statement about temperatures? It appears contradictory that warm temperatures would drive success rates down but it looks like the success rate was ever so slightly higher than the five-year average. Is this just smoke and mirrors?

Not knowing (and I searched) what the aggregate success rate for moose hunting since 1985 is, we really can’t get a true idea of whether 73% is average, higher or lower. Are we then to assume that the purpose of the statement made about high temperatures and hunter effort declining is the perpetuation of the myth that global warming is the cause for all things the might negatively affect one’s job? What are we to think?

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Maine 2013 Deer Harvest Up 15% From Previous Year

Augusta, Maine – Hunters during the 2013 deer season killed 24,795 deer, an increase of 15% over the 2012 harvest of 21,552 deer. The 2013 harvest is the third consecutive year the deer harvest has increased, reflective of a deer population that has grown since the back-to-back severe winters of 2008 and 2009.

“I commend IFW for its management of the deer herd, and I congratulate hunters who participated in one of our state’s most popular sporting pursuits,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Deer hunting is not only a time-honored tradition, but it attracts economic activity from hunters throughout Maine and those from other states.”

The deer kill increased in almost every Wildlife Management District in the state, and the adult buck harvest once again increased over the previous season with hunters taking 16,765 bucks, which was an increase of 8% over the 2012 buck kill of 15,475.

Holding true to the harvest patterns seen in 2013, Maine’s youth hunters also saw an increase in harvest numbers, climbing from 570 deer in 2012 to 781 in 2013, representing an increase of 37%. Their harvest consisted of a total of 335 adult bucks, 280 adult does and 166 fawns. Once again, youth hunters were allowed to harvest antlerless deer without needing an Any-deer Permit in WMDs where permits were issued.

As the deer population continued to rebound, in 2013 IFW issued approximately 36% more permits than were issued in 2012. This resulted in an increase in the adult doe harvest of 5,307 animals, approximately 24% more than the 4,287 harvest in 2012. In 2013, IFW issued Any Deer permits in Wildlife Management Districts 3 and 6, representing the first antlerless deer harvests in those districts since 2000 and 2007, respectively. The allocation of permits to these WMDs resulted in a total adult doe harvest of 17 individuals from WMD 3, and 64 from WMD 6. It also was the first time since 2007 that Any Deer permits were issued in WMD 7 where the doe harvest was 34.

“The increase in the number of successful hunters last season reflects a growing deer population in much of the state,” said IFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, “However, with the long, cold winter we experienced, it is prudent that we move forward thoughtfully in 2014 concerning the number of Any Deer permits issued.”

To help alleviate the impacts of deer nuisance issues in and around urban areas where bans on the use of firearms exist, the Department provides additional deer population management via deer harvests during an Expanded Archery season. Generally spanning a period greater than 70 days, this season allows hunters, whom have the appropriate license(s) and tags, to harvest one additional buck and potentially an unlimited number of does from within an identified Expanded Archery zone. The 2013 Expanded Archery season experienced an increase in harvest over the 2012 season by 13% from 987 deer to 1,122 deer.

This past winter marked the first in four years with above-average winter severity throughout the state, the first since 2009. As a result of the winter, IFW wildlife biologists have recommended decreasing the number of Any Deer permits throughout the state.

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Vermont Publishes Deer Harvest Information

“Abundant apples, acorns and beechnuts that were available to deer last fall may have resulted in deer being more dispersed than in some previous years. However, cold temperatures and snow in the November rifle season likely increased the ability of hunters to find, see and take deer.”<<<Read More>>>

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