AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists are preparing reports that may help hunters in the weeks ahead. Here’s the most recent report.
Down East, prospects for deer season are looking better than they have in a while.
“We are close to rebounding from the back-to-back severe winters we had,” said DIF&W wildlife biologist Tom Schaeffer. “We are getting favorable reports from the public who are saying they are seeing more deer, particularly does and fawns.”
Schaeffer said he is encouraged with what he has seen and what he has heard.
“It should be a decent year,” said Schaeffer, “If we continue this trend and have another decent winter or two, we could see some significant improvement in the deer herd Down East.”
Schaeffer did note that all areas Down East are not equal. Some areas are pretty good and other areas don’t have much for numbers. “There are some hot spots with good numbers of deer,” said Schaeffer.
Schaeffer said one way to know that deer numbers are up is due to deer complaints.
“We received an increasing number of deer complaints in gardens and in blueberry fields,” said Schaeffer.
This will probably be the last week for woodies noted Schaeffer, who said he is still running into wood ducks, but with the cold weather coming in, it might be short-lived.
However, the cold weather should bring in a number of other ducks from northern regions that begin to button up.
Deer numbers and sightings are up in the region, as wildlife biologist Doug Kane says that hunters in the southern part of the region should have an excellent opportunity at bagging a buck. The northern part of the region has not rebounded as quickly as the southern part of the region, but numbers are definitely up from where they were three years ago.
Turkey hunters are also having some good luck in the southern part of the region.
“Hunters are finding turkeys. The effort isn’t there like in the spring, but those that are hunting are killing some turkeys,” said Kane.
Grouse hunting in the area is about average, but there a lot of hunters out in the region, according to Kane.
Moose hunters in the region were challenged both by the warmer weather and the later date of the season.
“The way the calendar fell, this was about as late a season as there could be, and the bulls weren’t responding as it was post-rut,” said Kane.
Kane said some hunters who solely hunt the roads were discouraged, but Kane also thinks the hunt is changing.
“I had a friend, and they walked on the winter roads, away from the main roads. They saw 18 moose over the week, and passed up on three bulls, including a close encounter with a bull with close to a 60-inch spread,” said Kane.
“They worked from daylight to dark, walking the roads,” said Kane. “It was a little unconventional, but they were finding moose.”
“I am getting a lot of comments from people who are seeing a lot of deer, particularly does and fawns,” said wildlife biologist Mark Caron. While there are not a lot of permits in the Wildlife Management Districts that make up Region F, Caron feels that with another good year, there will be more permits.
“In general, the deer are doing much better in our region. People are going out of their way to say that they are seeing deer,” said Caron, who attributed the increase to the milder winters recently.
For upland bird hunters, hunting remains spotty for grouse, and Caron noted he hadn’t seen many people out woodcock hunting, but that should pick up as the flight birds start to come through.
Caron has seen some duck hunters, but not a lot. Caron notes that with so much water in the region, duck hunters spread out, and you don’t generally see many.
Hunters are getting turkeys in WMD 18, but he expects that next year, there will be more hunters and an increased effort as hunters get more accustomed to the fall season. Area tagging stations have registered a handful of turkeys.
Week 2 of moose season is over up north, and the numbers are pretty impressive.
Hunters registered more than 600 moose at the six area tagging and there were many impressive bulls registered.
“The heaviest was over 950 pounds and had a spread of over 62 and a half inches,” said wildlife biologist Amanda DeMusz, “Many were in the 700-pound range.”
Those 700-pound moose might have topped out near 1,000 pounds if they were taken in the September season. “Moose can drop 200 pounds during the rut,” said DeMusz.
There are still a few bear being registered by hunters said DeMusz, but hunters are getting excited about the upcoming deer season.
“The outlook is pretty good for deer season,” said DeMusz, “At the Presque Isle Sportsman’s Forum, people were saying they are seeing some pretty good bucks. We also have some any-deer permits in WMDs 3 and 6.”
Bird hunters are finding that grouse are spread out, but there seems to be higher numbers in the western part of the region. “Head out west of Allagash, the birds are still out there, you just need to get off the roads,” said DeMusz who said the leaves are off the tree, and the birds are more visible. “Get off the roads and into the coverts.”