AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wildlife biologists are preparing reports that may help hunters in the weeks ahead. Here’s the most recent report.
In the Moosehead region, leaves are starting to drop, which bodes well for upland hunters.
“Even with what looks like below average nesting success, there are still a lot of grouse around,” said DIF&W wildlife biologist Doug Kane.
“People are seeing more grouse, which is more of a trend due to a growing grouse population,” Kane said. “We had a higher than average number going into the winter last year, and last year’s mild winter helped. Even with below average production this spring, there still are a lot of grouse around.”
Kane also noted that he has seen quite a few turkeys in the southern part of the region, and just as in other parts of the state, he is seeing a variety of sizes with the poults.
“There are several age classes of turkeys,” said Kane. “They have been re-nesting throughout the summer, and we have seen some real little ones.” Turkey hunters should concentrate their efforts in the southern part of the region, said Kane.
In the Penobscot region, even though you may have not seen many grouse, it may not be a cause for concern.
“Grouse numbers can be hard to determine,” said Mark Caron. “I haven’t seen much for broods, but that’s not uncommon, it’s a good food year, and I have been flushing birds now and then.”
“I have heard from foresters and others who haven’t been seeing many, but I have heard that in past years too, and then once the leaves drop, the grouse appear and it turns out to be a good year,” says Caron.
If you are interested in turkey hunting, WMD 18 will be open for turkey hunting this fall, and Caron says there are plenty of turkeys around.
Turkey hunters should try the Page Farm unit of the Mattawamkeag River System WMA. Caron says the department has done a lot of work in that WMA such as creating early successional forest areas, planting food plots, freeing apple trees, cutting habitat strips and improving three miles of roads.
Duck hunters may want to try the Mud Pond WMA or the Pond Farm WMA. It’s still a little early for good goose hunting in the region as there is still standing corn in many fields.
Last week was moose season up north, and cool weather had moose moving around, and hunters are happy.
IFW wildlife biologist Rich Hoppe said one hunter downed a very large bull, tipping the scales at 1,070 pounds, and had a spread of 62 inches. Hoppe said the Gateway check station in Ashland had two or three other moose that were over 1,000 pounds. Business has been brisk, with hunters registering 75 moose on Sept. 24.
Goose hunters are doing well this early season up north. Hoppe notes that waterfowl hunting in The County “is one of the gems of The County. Very few people take part in it, but it can be outstanding.” Hoppe suggests hunting at Lake Josephine or the Christina Reservoir in Easton.
As for upland birds, Hoppe says “It has rained a lot, but I think it is going to be above average. I have seen a few birds while I was out, and I have seen good numbers of woodcock already.” Hoppe suggests the North Maine Woods as a destination for upland hunters.
“I don’t know if there is any place that has as good a habitat as the North Maine Woods,” says Hoppe. “The stewardship is excellent for upland birds, and there are a couple of million acres open to bird hunting. There is nothing else like it in the country.”