One of the benefits of living in Maine is the fact that no matter how close to town you live, you’re likely to have some interesting critters to watch every now and then.
In today’s mail bag — or virtual mailbag, if you prefer — are a couple of e-mails from readers who wanted to talk about deer.
When you write about critters for a living, as I’m fortunate enough to do, you quickly learn that folks have their favorites. And here in Maine, deer are high on the list.
Some like to hunt them. Everyone likes to watch them. And the stories people share about deer — whether originating during a hunt or while looking out their front windows — are typically interesting.
Alma Merrill Otto sent an e-mail recently, explaining that at least one deer in her yard has taken an interest in a family member.
Here’s what Otto had to say:
“This September, our apples and acorns have been attracting many deer,” she wrote. “There are often up to 10 deer in our yard, coming and going throughout the day and into the night.
“I was amused when a four-point buck snacking under the crabapple trees encountered a cat that was hunting,” she wrote. “The buck froze in place for a moment and then cautiously approached the cat. The deer’s head was down, his eyes were focused on the cat and his front legs were lifted high and lowered carefully and slowly as he approached this strange creature. You could say he ‘pussyfooted.’
“As the cat slowly moved about 20 feet, the deer followed stealthily, continuing to stalk the cat as it moved several times. When the cat reached the open lawn, the buck, lowering his head to within a foot of the cat’s head, slowly circled around the cat. The cat had had enough! It rapidly headed out of range.
“The deer in our yard can be pesky eaters of our garden plants and shrubs, but they are a continuing source of amazement and amusement,” she concluded.
And you thought you’d seen it all.
Next up is Patricia Curtis of North Haven, who took good-natured offense to a recent story I wrote detailing the woes of the state’s deer herd.
Here’s her take on the situation:
“Perhaps the experts [regarding] Maine’s deer herd are lacking up to date information!” she wrote. “We who live on the inhabited islands have direct knowledge of hundreds (thousands?) of deer who have migrated and relocated to the islands.
“Here they thrive and proliferate while dining on home-grown veggies and shrubberies. They are obviously smart enough to realize the islands provide such a good life there is no need to live elsewhere!
“So when deer numbers are being crunched, don’t forget to include the islands’ populations and while you’re at it please help us figure out a way to remove the destructive nuisances,” she wrote. “We’d love to have them shipped up north where they’re evidently wanted but we’ve been told that wouldn’t work.
“For safety’s sake we can’t really encourage many more hunters. Our island (North Haven) is small and therefore not well suited to hunting camp operations.
“So here they are and here they’ll stay, I guess,” she concluded.
One thing’s for sure: We Mainers are certainly passionate about our deer.
Fishing regulations proposed
Dave Basley, the state’s regional fisheries biologist for Region G, checked in last week with some information anglers might want to consider.
Basley explained that the Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife is considering a number of regulation changes in the Fish River region, and while hearings have already been held, public comment will be accepted until Oct. 5.
A partial list of some of the proposals under consideration:
• Reducing the daily bag limit on trout at Millinocket Lake at the headwaters of the Aroostook River to one fish with a 14-inch minimum. The October season would be eliminated.
• Increasing the bag limit at Upper Hudson Pond to five trout that are 6-12 inches long in order to encourage anglers to harvest fish and cut down on an overabundant population.
• Returning First, Second and Third Musquacook lakes to general law limits on togue after three years of a more liberal limit and no stocking reduced the population as planned.
• Extending ice fishing season (when possible) from Dec. 1-April 30, with a two-trout or splake limit and a 6-inch minimum on the following stocked waters: Arnold Brook Lake, in Presque Isle, Cochrane Lake in New Limerick, Mud Pond in Linneus, Spaulding Lake in Oakfield, Squa Pan Lake in Ashland and Umcolcus Lake in Moro Plantation.
For a complete list of the rulemaking proposals the DIF&W is considering, go to www.mefishwildlife.com and check under the “Laws and Rules” link.