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Do these estimates seem to correlate to what you as a hunter experienced this past fall?


For Immediate Release December 9,
2004

Deer Kill Expected To Be In 32,000 Range

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Preliminary deer harvest data collected throughout
the
state suggests that this year's deer kill will be in the vicinity of
32,000,
up 6% from last year's kill of 30,313 but down 11% from an expected
kill of
35,800.

The total deer kill for each of the past ten deer seasons is as
follows:
2003 - 30,313; 2002 -- 38,153; 2001 -- 27,769; 2000 - 36,885; 1999 -
31,473;
1998 - 28,241; 1997 - 31,152; 1996 - 28,375; 1995 - 27,384; 1994 -
24,683;
1993 -- 27,402.

"Deer harvests increased by up to 20% in northern and portions of
eastern
Maine due mainly to the effects of a mild winter," according to IF&W
deer
biologist Gerry Lavigne. "Harvest levels seem similar to last year in
southern and western Maine, and it appears that the deer kill has
declined
in some central Maine areas where the department had increased doe
permits
over the past four years in order to reduce the deer population.
Harvest
trends and lower sightings by hunters in these central Maine locations
seem
to reflect the Department's success in reducing the deer population in
these
areas"

Hunting conditions for the firearm season on deer (which began on
October 30
and ended November 27) were better than last year, but were not ideal.
The
first two weeks of the season were cool and relatively dry, but woods
were
often noisy, which had deer wary. Tracking snow, which greatly
improves
hunter success rates, arrived late in the second week up north, but it
quickly became noisy before melting later in the season. A few
locations in
eastern and southern parts of the state received tracking snow for
brief
periods. Wind and heavy rain were not as prevalent as last year, but
the
latter two weeks of the firearms season were warmer than normal. Many
biologists noted this may have depressed hunter activity.

Opening Saturday and the first full week produced a steady harvest with
a
good amount of antlerless deer and young bucks. Normally a slow week,
harvest during the second week of the firearms season remained steady,
but
the kill dropped off during weeks three and four. Hunter effort and
harvest
were below par during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, particularly so
for
antlerless deer. "Hunters did not seem to be 'cashing in' their
any-deer
permits during the final week of firearms season, as they commonly do",
Lavigne said. As a result, fewer does and fawns were killed than was
desired.

The source of this deer harvest estimate is based on a model that uses
the
total number of deer examined by wildlife biologists at meat lockers,
roadside check stations, and home visits. All told, IFW biologists and
cooperators will have examined 6,500 or more deer in 2004. The number
of
deer examined by biologists is highly correlated with total harvest. An
actual count of the number of deer in harvested in Maine this fall will
be
available in March. At that time, Department biologists will make deer
harvest recommendations for 2005.
 
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