AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists are preparing reports that may help hunters in the weeks ahead.
Southern Lakes Region
In southern Maine, the deer hunt is off to a fine start.
“Good weather so far, people are seeing a lot of deer but not necessarily taking a deer, especially those with any deer permits,” said DIF&W Wildlife Biologist Scott Lindsay.
He said quite a few hunters were successful on opening day this past Saturday, and most of the deer brought to area tagging stations were younger age class, yearlings that were born last year. As the season moves along, older deer start to appear at the tagging station.
“Usually, the week of Veterans Day, we start to see some of those older deer being registered,” said Lindsay.
Lindsay said one deer of note was a buck taken in Otisfield that topped out at 260 pounds.
While there are a lot of hunters, Lindsay said they are spread out. And while there are pockets of heavily developed areas, there certainly are plenty of undeveloped areas to hunt.
Interestingly, Lindsay noticed that he is seeing a lot of people from other parts of the state coming to southern Maine to hunt.
“This past month, I received two calls from hunters who live in the St. John Valley,” said Lindsay.
After hearing so much about the number of deer in southern Maine, the two hunters were calling to learn more about hunting in the area and what they could expect if they came.
Central and Midcoast
What’s the one word that comes to mind when describing deer in central Maine?
“Exceptional,” said DIF&W wildlife biologist Keel Kemper, who uses the word when describing the number and size of the yearling deer in his area.
Kemper made his rounds Sunday to area meat cutters in order to gather biological samples of deer. He is excited by what he has seen.
“It’s a bumper crop,” says Kemper, who noted that the Sundays after opening day in recent years have been “dismal” when it comes to the number of deer at area cutters. However, this year is different.
“One cutter said business was terrible, only because he had to turn away deer,” said Kemper, who noted the cutter had no more room to store deer and was at capacity. “Guys that had five deer at this time last year now have 18 deer in the freezer.
“These yearling deer are exceptional in size, quality and abundance,” said Kemper, who said they are getting yearling deer that are dressing out at over 160 pounds.
“There’s no shortage of enthusiasm, as the hunting conditions are good, and hunting effort is up in central Maine,” said Kemper.
If you are lucky enough to have tagged out on deer this season, try heading up to the Frye Mountain Wildlife Management area for some grouse hunting. Kemper said that several hunters have had good luck up there, and there is a “good crop of grouse.”
Deer season is off to a strong start in the western mountains region of the state.
“Things are looking pretty good. In the southern part of the region, our deer numbers are back to where we were even pre-2008,” said DIF&W wildlife biologist Bob Cordes.
Word travels fast of big deer in the region, and already there was a 276-pound buck that was taken on opening day in Avon.
“People are seeing a lot of deer, and the number of big deer is swinging back up,” said Cordes who noted that it takes about three and half years for deer in this area to make the 200-pound mark.
It still is moose season in parts of this region, so biologists are out taking biological samples from harvested moose. Once it is analyzed this winter, the data collected will give biologists a clearer picture of the moose population in the area.