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 region
“We’ve had some goose hunters who have done well with the early goose season. Some are even getting them in the blueberry barrens, where the geese are picking up what has been left behind,” said biologist Tom Schaeffer, who noted that most successful hunters were in the green, grassy areas and pastures.
Upland birds haven’t been showing in great numbers, and moose hunters haven’t been reporting many grouse sightings either. Hunters shouldn’t be overly worried, however.
“For the last three or four years it seems that a lot of our birds don’t appear until later in the season,” said Schaeffer, who added that waterfowl hunting will pick up as well once it cools down and birds start moving.
In the Moosehead region, moose season began Monday, and even though this season is a little later with the way the calendar falls, there is plenty of opportunity for hunters.
“Some bulls will definitely be able to be called because they will be without cows, but they are probably going to be in the young vegetation where the food and visibility is good,” said DIF&W wildlife biologist Doug Kane. “Hunters may even see groups of moose, because post rut, that is what you often see.”
Kane also noted that this year, there are a lot of bears around.
“The beechnuts are here this year, so the bears are probably going to be out late this season, so they will probably even be available to deer hunters,” said Kane.
Kane added that the grouse are just starting to show in the region, and that he is seeing a variety of sizes of turkeys in the region, indicative of the females renesting.
In the Penobscot region, birds are spotty as well, indicative of a poor nesting season.
“I was out hunting last week myself, and didn’t see much for birds,” said Mark Caron, DIF&W wildlife biologist.
Caron notes that hunters should take heart, as it will get better as the season goes along.
“Once it starts to cool off and the leaves come off the trees, hunters will be seeing more birds,” Caron said.
Caron also noted that while he has seen a lot of turkeys, he hasn’t seen many turkey hunters in his region. He notes that part of the reason is the unfamiliarity with the fall season.
“It is a whole different ball game,” said Caron, “Right now, many of the birds are taken incidental to the grouse hunting and even bowhunting season for deer.”
“The birds are spread out up here,” said biologist Rich Hoppe. “The grouse hunting is fair, nothing great, but fair. The birds aren’t bunched up a lot, which is typical of failed nesting.”
Woodcock are spotty, but there are some fair to good numbers this year compared to last year, added Hoppe. “We haven’t seen many flight birds yet, but we feel they will be coming through soon.”
Moose hunting resumed this week, and bird hunters in the North Maine Woods are saying that they are still seeing a lot of moose, which bodes well for the upcoming moose hunt.
Waterfowl hunters have been having a difficult time, not due to a lack of ducks, more because of an abundance of water in the region. Ducks are spread out, many making temporary homes in puddles and shallow ponds that used to be farmer’s fields.
Hoppe did say there is still plenty of natural food in the woods, and it looks like bears will be out late this year, which will offer some lucky deer hunters an opportunity to take a bear during deer season. In lean years, bears will den up early, but this year, the rains and warm weather means plenty of natural food.
In an unusual task, department biologists are busy with the remnants of a tornado that touched down in the area several weeks ago. Hoppe is working with several large landowners concerning salvage operations for timber that was downed during the storm. The storm hit some deer yards where there are cooperative management agreements, and work is being done to remove the timber while protecting the deer yards.