AUGUSTA — Applications for 2016 any-deer (antlerless) permit lottery are now available online from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Online applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 15. To apply online, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.

This year, a total 45,755 any-deer permits are proposed for 18 of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts across the state, an increase of nearly 60 percent. Last year, there were 28,770 permits available to hunters. Hunters who do not receive an any-deer permits are only allowed to shoot an antlered deer. The proposed permit numbers await approval by the IFW advisory council.

“Last year’s winter was more moderate in many areas of the state, and the increase in the number of any deer permits reflect that,” said IFW wildlife biologist Kyle Ravana.

The proposed increase in permits are in 13 different wildlife management districts that comprise southern, central, and western Maine.

The department uses the any-deer permit system to manage the white-tailed deer population in the state. The ability to enact change in the state’s deer populations derives from the ability to increase, or decrease, the number of breeding does on the landscape.White-tailed deer are at the northern edge of their range in Maine, and winter severity is a limiting factor concerning population growth. By controlling the harvest of female deer in the 29 regional wildlife management districts throughout the state, biologists can manage population trends. With last year’s winter below average in severity, more permits can be issued.

This year, there are any deer permits proposed for WMDs 7, 12 and 13 after these districts saw no permits last year. Biological data collected as well as field observations by biologists suggest that these WMDs can withstand a light doe harvest. The mild winter provided deer with a lower than average over-winter mortality, as well as increased reproductivity.

Last year, Maine’s hunters harvested 20,325 deer. Hunters harvested 14,907 bucks, and 3,615 adult does. For the past eight years, Maine hunters have been harvesting approximately 20,900 deer annually.

Maine hunters were most successful during the regular firearms season for deer, which accounted for 82 percent of the total deer kill. Bowhunters accounted for 10 percent, youth hunters just over 4.2 percent and muzzleloaders 3.7 percent of the total deer kill.

Up to half of all any deer permits in each WMD are allocated between Maine landowners who own 25 acres or more (25 percent) and youth hunters (25 percent). The remaining permits are then distributed to the remaining hunters who apply for any deer permits. The drawing will be held on Sept. 9 and results will be posted on the department’s website.

The 18 wildlife management districts where any-deer (antlerless) permits are proposed are 3, 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 29. Firearms hunting for deer begins with Youth Deer Hunting Day on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. Youth may take a buck statewide or an antlerless deer only in the wildlife management districts where any-deer permits will be issued this fall.

This year, Maine Residents-Only Day is on Saturday, Oct. 29 and regular firearms season for deer runs Oct. 31 through Nov. 26. Noteworthy this year is that a non-resident who owns 25 or more acres of land in Maine and leaves land open to hunting, holds a valid hunting license, and is not otherwise prohibited by law, may hunt deer on the Resident-Only day.

The regular archery season begins on Sept. 29 and continues until Oct. 28. The expanded archery season is from Sept. 10-Dec. 10 in specially-designated areas. The muzzleloading season is Nov. 28-Dec. 3 in all areas of the state, and continues another week (Dec. 5-10) in southern and central Maine (WMDs 12, 13, 15-18, 20-26 and 29).

For more information, visit www.mefishwildlife.com.