6 Apr 2010, 6:12pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Wildlife Agencies
by admin

Maine’s Deer Population And Harvest Numbers Collapsing

by Tom Remington, Black Bear Blog, April 6, 2010 [here]

I have written at length about the dire predicament that exists in Northern and Eastern Maine with the whitetail deer herd. The general consensus is that there are three main factors – weather, habitat and predation. I dug around and put together population and harvest numbers for the past dozen years. These I’ve put to graphs so readers can get a better sense of the decline. Unlike the “climategate” scandal, where participants have been accused of “hiding the decline”, nobody is trying to hide the decline in deer population and harvest. The argument is what has caused it and what is being done about it?

Before you examine the graphs below, let me explain a couple things. Bear in mind that the data used is for population estimates and harvest numbers statewide. The whitetail deer crisis is for Northern Maine and Eastern Maine, comprising perhaps as much as two-thirds or more of the total state land mass. From information and accounts given, it appears the deer population and harvest figures for Central and Southern Maine remain steady or even growing in some places. I just did not have available data to plot out deer population estimates for the Northern and Eastern Wildlife Management Districts.

With the figures available and keeping in perspective that in Southern and Central areas the deer herd is stable, it’s easy to see that Northern and Eastern Maine deer herds are essentially non existent.

The first graph plots Maine’s estimated, post-hunt deer population beginning in 1998 and ending in 2008. The 2009 estimated, post-hunt deer population figure has not been made available to the public as of yet. At least that I am aware of at this time.

The Y-axis reveals the estimated deer population with a peak of 331,000 occurring in 1999 and a low in 2008 of 199,600. The years are displayed in the X-axis. … [more]


Some observations from Mike at Wildlife and People:

1) The Maine deer population has plummeted at least 40% over the last 10 years. That decline has been a steady trend, not an up-down cycle.

2) The hunting harvest has ranged between 10 to 15% of the total population count per year.

3) Healthy deer herds can sustain harvests of 20 to 30% per year and not decline in numbers.

4) Winters have NOT been unusually severe over the last 10 years. In fact, many claim that global warming has reduced winter severity.

5) There is no evidence that the Maine deer herd has exceeded carrying capacity and is dying off for lack of browse.

6) Therefore, it must be something else that is causing the precipitous decline in the deer population numbers.

7) My bet is the cause is PREDATION, probably coyotes and wolves.

The Maine Fish and Game Dept. needs to have their feet held to the fire on this. This post should appear in every newspaper in the state and on every Maine Legislator’s desk. People need to DEMAND accountability from their government.

Kudos to Tom Remington for bringing this issue and these numbers to the attention of the public. Please spread the word.

18 Apr 2010, 8:01pm
by Bob

Gov. Baldacci outlawing the use of predator snares in the deer yards has significantly affected deer numbers. With predators out of control it effects all of the wildlife. There are areas that are void of rabbits and birds of all species. This is a prime example of why voter pressure for re-election should not be allowed to interfere with wildlife biologists’ decision to maintain a balanced ecosystem.

22 Apr 2010, 1:13pm
by YPmule

I agree with you Bob, however they have ONE study out of Yellowstone saying the wolves have brought back the birds and beavers there. Too bad that study is applied like a wet blanket to all ecosystems.

30 Sep 2010, 1:27pm
by Kirt B.

This guy is really dumb…it has nothing to do PREDATION . Winters have been wicked bad . Talk about an article with an agenda….ridiculous!!!!!!!

Reply: Wicked bad winters? I thought we were experiencing global warming. Present your evidence, please.

23 Nov 2010, 10:41am
by Darby O.

Turkeys are not helping the deer herd.

2 Dec 2010, 8:17am
by Chris P

What I have seen after spending probably more time than any of you in the woods is that the deer population is down so far that we cut off deer hunting up north for doe’s. Which they should’ve cut off all hunting. Now there’s no deer up north and that’s just going to bring coyotes south, to where the few deer left are. You tell me that this has nothing to do with predation you’re high. Our coyote population on 136 acres of land had gone from 1 or 2, to over 15! and our deer? what deer? this past week we got some snow, I cut three sets of deer tracks, and 12 sets of coyote tracks crossing a road a half a mile long. We used to have deer all over the place on our land and we actually had to worry about hitting them crossing the road. Now we rarely ever see deer andywhere on our whole road! I’ll tell you right now its not the winter that’s killing deer down south. I agree its probably the winter doing more damage up north than predation, but anywhere from Old Town and south, it’s coyotes. Ask people who actually spend time in the woods and you’ll hear the same thing. We need to get a plan into affect to get rid of more coyotes than we are… Next year the deer season will be the worst anyone has ever seen. To actually know whats going on you have to experience it for yourself, not read whats on the internet.

7 Dec 2010, 12:56pm
by John

I am an avid deer hunter and spend almost everyday in the woods during Oct and Nov. This is by far the worst deer hunting season I have ever witnessed!! There are no deer!!! North, south it does not matter where…there are no deer!!! This state is a complete joke and continues to dodge the issues. Yes predation is a HUGE issue for this state. Coyotes are everywhere!! Also, turkeys have taken over this state. I see 30-40 turkeys everyday. I use to see 100 or so deer every season prior to 2008. This year I saw 2 deer (that’s it) and I hunt in the south. I have watched turkeys completely clean a ridge of its acorns in one afternoon and this cannot be good for our deer population. I am seriously considering not hunting here anymore and give my money to a state that can manage deer more properly. Maine cares about its revenue, not deer management. Why anybody would choose to hunt this state is way beyond me, unless you like turkeys and squirrels.



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