September 27, 2023

Maine’s Deer Management Based on Global Warming?

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Recently the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) has been attempting to, what appears to be, set the stage for a future announcement of a deer herd that got whacked pretty hard this winter. Several media outlets and outdoor writers have taken a turn at helping to explain just how bad the winter has been. The latest of these attempts is from Terry Karkos of the Sun Journal.

Perhaps as telling as anything in this article is the very last sentence: “The deer population has been rebounding since then due to warmer winters.” (“since” meaning rebounding from the back to back severe winters of 2008 and 2009.) While this is not presented in the article as being a quote from anyone at MDIFW, it may be one of the reasons that nothing has been done since 2008 and 2009 to mitigate the losses when the next severe winter hits….which is now. (This is where everyone in unison says, “But there’s nothing we can do about the weather, and, and, and there’s no habitat.”)

Evidently I am not the only one who sees that the only reason that the deer herd was able to “rebound” from 2008 and 2009 is because of a handful of relatively mild winters, affectionately and conveniently described as “global warming.”

Karkos, provides information others have not. He states that MDIFW claims that before the start of the 2013 deer hunting season there where a guesstimate of 203,000 deer statewide. Prior to the start of the deer season, Kyle Ravana, the new deer guru, estimated a harvest of nearly 26,000 deer. We have no idea what the harvest was that ended last December as it seems Maine is the only state that takes 4 or 5 or 6 or whatever, months to count and do simple math.

If hunters took anywhere near the 26,000 deer, that would have left about 177,000 deer. The article states that Ravana is estimating a 12% winter kill. That leaves less than 156,000 deer. It seems to me that I recall the deer management plan that is due to expire this year, called from building the total state deer herd to around 325,000 animals. Oooooops!

I guess about all we can say about this is damn that loss of habitat and where is Al Gore when you really need him?