February 5, 2023

Maine IFW Hunting Report for October 28, 2013

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Compiled By Mark Latti with IFW Wildlife Biologists

Southern Lakes Region

“People are seeing a lot of deer, we have received a lot of positive feedback from archery hunters, and I think deer hunters will have plenty of opportunities this fall,” said IFW wildlife biologist Scott Lindsay.

The southern part of the state has experienced below average winters the past two years, and it has rebounded from the severe back to back winters in in 08 and 09. “All the data from last year suggest that hunters should have some good opportunities this fall.”

Lindsay said that he has seen a lot of deer, and has received a lot of positive feedback from hunters.

The last pheasant release went well, and positive comments continue to come from hunters and landowners. Hunters appreciated having the release sites on the department website (www.mefishwildlife.com) complete with maps.

Lindsay also noted that he has seen more turkeys than he expected at area tagging stations, and the increased opportunity for fall turkey hunting (longer season, higher bag limit) seems to be attracting a lot of hunters.

Central and Midcoast Maine

“I am very optimistic about deer season,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Keel Kemper, “We’ve got WMDs 17 and23, and there are a lot of deer being seen there.”

Kemper has noticed a lot of deer, and has gotten reports from a lot of hunters scouting in the field.

“Even the serious deer hunters are optimistic with the rebound we are seeing,” said Kemper, who said he has been watching some really nice bucks in two areas he likes to hunt.

Looking for places to deer hunt? Kemper rattled off towns like Vassalboro, Unity, Jefferson, Thorndike and others. He expects tagging stations in those areas to be busy.

If you like to waterfowl hunt, acorns may be spotty, but there are plenty of wood ducks and teal still around. Kemper also noted that when he went by Sebasticook lake the other day, he stated “the place was black with geese and ducks.”

Downeast Maine

Downeast, prospects for deer season are looking better than they have in a while.

“We are close to rebounding from the back-to-back severe winters we had,” said IFW Wildlife Biologist Tom Schaeffer. “We are getting favorable reports from the public who are saying they are seeing more deer, particularly does and fawns.”

Schaeffer said he is encouraged with what he has seen and what he has heard.

“It should be a decent year,” said Schaeffer, “If we continue this trend and have another decent winter or two, we could see some significant improvement in the deer herd Downeast.”

Schaeffer did note that all areas Downeast are not equal. Some areas are pretty good and other areas don’t have much for numbers. “There are some hotspots with good numbers of deer,” said Schaeffer.

Schaeffer said one way to know that deer numbers are up is due to deer complaints.

“We received an increasing number of deer complaints in gardens and in blueberry fields,” said Schaeffer.

This will probably be the last week for woodies noted Schaeffer, who said he is still running into wood ducks, but with the cold weather coming in, it might be short-lived.

However, the cold weather should bring in a number of other ducks from northern regions that begin to button up.

Rangeley Lakes and Western Mountains Region

Moose season is over in the Rangeley area, and IFW wildlife biologist Bob Cordes spent much of the week at the moose registration station in Oquossoc

“We tagged 91 moose for the week, which was the same number as last year,” said Cordes.

It was the same in Rangeley as it was in much of the state, with unseasonably warm weather during much of moose season.

“It was pretty warm up there, and moose were not moving much,” said Cordes, who added from year to year the weather changes so he doesn’t know whether to expect to wear long johns or sunscreen.

Now that moose season is over, hunters are eagerly awaiting deer season.

“I think the deer season is going to be outstanding. Deer numbers are back to the pre-2008 years. I am seeing plenty of deer around, and I am getting reports of more deer,” said Cordes.

Cordes mentioned one landowner who has had three does visiting regularly, and two of the does have twins.

“The last few years we have had some milder winters and we have had good overwinter survival with pretty good fawn production,” said Cordes.

If you are bird hunting, Cordes noted that early on, he saw a lot of resident woodcock, but bird hunting remains somewhat spotty. There some good spots, but it’s nothing like last year.

Moosehead Region

Deer numbers and sightings are up in the region, as IFW wildlife biologist Doug Kane says that hunters in the southern part of the region should have an excellent opportunity at bagging a buck. The northern part of the region has not rebounded as quickly as the southern part of the region, but numbers are definitely up from where they were three years ago.

Turkey hunters are also having some good luck in the southern part of the region.

“Hunters are finding turkeys. The effort isn’t there like in the spring, but those that are hunting are killing some turkeys,” said Kane.

Grouse hunting in the area is about average, but there a lot of hunters out in the region, according to Kane.

Moose hunters in the region were challenged both by the warmer weather and the later date of the season.

“The way the calendar fell, this was about as late a season as there could be, and the bulls weren’t responding as it was post-rut,” said Kane.

Kane said some hunters who solely hunt the roads were discouraged, but Kane also thinks the hunt is changing.

“I had a friend, and they walked on the winter roads, away from the main roads. They saw 18 moose over the week, and passed up on three bulls, including a close encounter with a bull with close to a 60” spread,” said Kane.

“They worked from daylight to dark, walking the roads,” said Kane. “It was a little unconventional, but they were finding moose.”

Penobscot Region

“I am getting a lot of comments from people who are seeing a lot of deer, particularly does and fawns,” said IFW wildlife biologist Mark Caron. While there are not a lot of permits in the Wildlife Management Districts that comprise Region F, Caron feels that with another good year, there will be more permits.

“In general, the deer are doing much better in our region. People are going out of their way to say that they are seeing deer,” said Caron, who attributed the increase to the milder winters recently.

For upland bird hunters, hunting remains spotty for grouse, and Caron noted he hadn’t seen many people out woodcock hunting, but that should pick up as the flight birds start to come through.

Caron has seen some duck hunters, but not a lot. Caron notes that with so much water in the region, duck hunters spread out, and you don’t generally see many.

Hunters are getting turkeys in WMD 18, but he expects that next year, there will be more hunters and an increased effort as hunters get more accustomed to the fall season. Area tagging stations have registered a handful of turkeys.

Aroostook Region

Week 2 of moose season is over up north, and the numbers are pretty impressive.

Hunters registered over 600 moose at the six area tagging and there were many impressive bulls registered.

“The heaviest was over 950 pounds and had a spread of over 62 and a half inches,” said IFW wildlife biologist Amanda DeMusz, “Many were in the 700 pound range.”

Those 700-pound moose might have topped out near 1,000 pounds if they were taken in the September season. “Moose can drop 200 pounds during the rut,” said DeMusz.

There are still a few bear being registered by hunters said DeMusz, but hunters are getting excited about the upcoming deer season.

“The outlook is pretty good for deer season,” said DeMusz, “At the Presque Isle Sportsman’s Forum, people were saying they are seeing some pretty good bucks. We also have some any deer permits in WMDs 3 and 6.”

Bird hunters are finding that grouse are spread out, but there seems to be higher numbers in the western part of the region. “Head out west of Allagash, the birds are still out there, you just need to get off the roads,” said DeMusz who said the leaves are off the tree, and the birds are more visible. “Get off the roads and into the coverts.”