No matter how much you prepare between now and then, when you head into the woods during deer season this year, there will be many questions left to be answered.
Will you see many deer? Will you fill your tag at all? Will your friend end up with the biggest buck … again?
The answer to one key question, however, will be answered on Friday: Will you be allowed to target does, as well as bucks, during the season?
The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife will hold its annual any-deer permit lottery on Friday, and for 45,385 lucky winners, the answer to that final question will be “Yes.”
For the rest of us, the answer will be “No.”
Therefore, we’ll end up looking for bucks … only bucks … again.
According to the DIF&W Web site, during the archery, regular firearms and muzzle-loader deer seasons, only hunters with valid any-deer permits may hunt deer with antlers less than three inches long.
The rest of us, according to law, will be looking for bucks with substantial headgear attached.
This year’s 45,385 any-deer permits will be allotted in only 11 of the state’s 29 Wildlife Management Districts.
The BDN will not publish the names of the lucky winners — it’d fill the entire paper if we did — but you can find the results at the DIF&W Web site (www.mefishwildlife.com).
Another housekeeping matter to be aware of: The state will not send you an actual any-deer permit, nor a transportation tag. Instead, you’ll be expected to find your personal any-deer permit number on the Web site, record it, and keep it with you while hunting.
The total number of any-deer permits has been reduced for the second straight year in response to a pair of severe winters that have adversely affected the state’s deer herd, especially in extreme northern Maine.
In 2007, a total of 66,275 any-deer permits were allotted. That was reduced to 51,850 permits in 2008, and to 45,385 this year.
The breakdown of those 45,385 permits: A total of 954 will be allotted to those who hold a Superpack license, 11,348 will go to landowners, 30,588 go to Maine residents who don’t qualify for the Superpack and landowner drawings, and 2,495 permits go to non-residents.
The highest total of any-deer permits will be awarded in WMD 22, which includes West Gardiner and Litchfield (7,980 permits) and in WMD 23, which includes Newburgh, Unity and Albion (7,920 permits).
No any-deer permits will be allotted in northern Maine. The other WMDs with any-deer permits (with the total number of permits that will be awarded, according to the DIF&W Web site: WMD 15 (3,915 permits), WMD 16 (3,400), WMD 17 (4,730), WMD 20 (3,800), WMD 21 (4,750), WMD 24 (2,050), WMD 25 (5,040), WMD 26 (1,200) and WMD 29 (600).
Get ready for the gun show
Gun collectors, hunters and those interested in a variety of antiquities and accessories will flock to the Bangor Auditorium this weekend for the 322nd annual Bangor Gun Show.
The show, which was begun by Bangor Daily News Charities and run by that organization for 16 years, has been organized and put on by the Penobscot County Conservation Association for the last 16.
The show will run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday.
General admission tickets are available for $7, while children under 12 get in free with an adult. NRA members and law enforcement personnel will pay $6 while those who join the NRA at the show get in free.
And whether you’re looking for a collector’s piece or a modern rifle to take with you in the woods during deer season, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye at the show.
Some dealers typically offer knives, ceremonial swords, books and artwork, while others specialize in guns by specific manufacturers.
Others represent various outdoor stores in the area, and will have a selection of their products on hand for customers to peruse.
As in past years, all modern firearms at the show will be sold under the same federal guidelines — including the national instant check system —that would be in place at a department store or gun shop, and all vendors of those weapons must be federally licensed dealers.
The show is a major fundraiser for the PCCA, and has helped fund wildlife conservation and conservation law enforcement scholarships at the University of Maine and Unity College, as well as other conservation-related projects throughout the year.
Looking for bear stories
So, how’s your bear season progressing?
The state’s hunting season for bears began on Aug. 31, and I’m hearing anecdotal reports that indicate many hunters are having success.
I’ll be tracking down some bear tales over the next couple of days, and if you’ve got a story to tell, I’d love to hear it.
If all goes well, on Saturday I’ll pass along some of the most interesting stories (and hopefully some reports from the experts) to readers.