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Maine Governor Signs Bill to Rebuild Whitetail Herd

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May 30, 2012

Maine Governor Signs Bill to Rebuild Whitetail Herd

By Scott Bestul

Deer numbers in northern Maine, where hunting traditions run deep and the bucks grow big, have taken a nose-dive in recent years. According to a story in the Bangor Daily News, Governor Paul Lepage hoped to reverse those trends when he signed a bill aimed at improving winter habitat and putting increased pressure on coyotes, the chief predator of Maine whitetails.

Think you’re not seeing enough deer in your area? Whitetail populations in some areas of northern Maine are estimated at 1-4 deer per square mile. Given the dense forests of this region, the odds of seeing deer -- much less tagging a trophy buck -- are slim indeed. Maine’s annual whitetail harvest, which peaked at 28,000 animals in the late 1980s, has dropped to under 20,000 recently. Statewide population estimates place the herd at some 250,000 animals.

Wildlife officials feel a loss of critical winter yarding areas is one of the primary reasons for the drop in deer numbers. Lepage’s bill aims to increase protection of these coniferous forests, which offer thermal protection for whitetails in long, often brutal, winters. While there is not a bounty on coyotes in the state, wildlife officials identify problem areas and try to place hunters and trappers in those spots to increase harvests.

Hunters will foot at least some of the bill for the project, with $2 of each $5 “tagging fee” they pay designated for funding. Also, voluntary donations will be accepted with each license purchase.

 

Comments (8)

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from Moose1980 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

It's a start. Its been a scarce few years hunting there. I'm used to not seeing deer, but we were able to always find sign. The last couple years, even tracks were hard to find, let alone scrapes and rubs. The moose however, are doing wonderful.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Good to hear about the moose. If I get drawn maybe I'll try to help you guess out and shoot a few yotes after taking my 50 inch moose. I think results should be out within a few weeks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Moose1980 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

jay, June 23 is when they do the lottery. I couldn't put in this year (got drawn in 2010) but my father puts in with me as subpermittee. They recently reanalyzed their moose population estimates using new methods, they now estimate 75000!!! moose in Maine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

I guess the coyotes haven't figured out how to tackle a moose.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

For many years I hunted deer in western New Brunswick just across the border from Maine. Same kind of country. Deer numbers always were either way up or way down, often due to hard winters I think. But yes, the paper companies logged and wrecked the wintering areas, which are a absolute requirement for Whitetails in that part of the world. I started hunting there in the late 70's when the hunting for really big bucks was just great, but now I would not go back again. The principal paper company there has totally ruined what was once a great country, with the collusion of the NB government, which never gave a damn.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

I'll be up in northern ME. this fall hoping to cross trails with a nice buck.

I know full well that the the odds are long, but hunting the big woods all day is fun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 357 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

time to break out the predator calls and have some fun. My old man grew up in main and talks about 250 pound bucks and deer as thick as city traffic. Sounded like heaven.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I'm envious of the lot of you. Cur my teeth hunting in Maine. AZ does not compare. But, if it's deer you lack, there's nothing like a crisp Autumn day gunning for the nefarious ruffed grouse aka partridge. Enjoy your seasons guys!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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from Moose1980 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

It's a start. Its been a scarce few years hunting there. I'm used to not seeing deer, but we were able to always find sign. The last couple years, even tracks were hard to find, let alone scrapes and rubs. The moose however, are doing wonderful.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

Good to hear about the moose. If I get drawn maybe I'll try to help you guess out and shoot a few yotes after taking my 50 inch moose. I think results should be out within a few weeks.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Moose1980 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

jay, June 23 is when they do the lottery. I couldn't put in this year (got drawn in 2010) but my father puts in with me as subpermittee. They recently reanalyzed their moose population estimates using new methods, they now estimate 75000!!! moose in Maine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jay wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

I guess the coyotes haven't figured out how to tackle a moose.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom warner wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

For many years I hunted deer in western New Brunswick just across the border from Maine. Same kind of country. Deer numbers always were either way up or way down, often due to hard winters I think. But yes, the paper companies logged and wrecked the wintering areas, which are a absolute requirement for Whitetails in that part of the world. I started hunting there in the late 70's when the hunting for really big bucks was just great, but now I would not go back again. The principal paper company there has totally ruined what was once a great country, with the collusion of the NB government, which never gave a damn.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

I'll be up in northern ME. this fall hoping to cross trails with a nice buck.

I know full well that the the odds are long, but hunting the big woods all day is fun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 357 wrote 1 year 45 weeks ago

time to break out the predator calls and have some fun. My old man grew up in main and talks about 250 pound bucks and deer as thick as city traffic. Sounded like heaven.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I'm envious of the lot of you. Cur my teeth hunting in Maine. AZ does not compare. But, if it's deer you lack, there's nothing like a crisp Autumn day gunning for the nefarious ruffed grouse aka partridge. Enjoy your seasons guys!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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