Northern Maine's Deer Herd

JDK

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I know someone will come along and say they saw 300 deer during the season but by all accounts the deer herd is way down and the number of "big" bucks is depressing. My thoughts, and they are intertwined:

Timber Harvesting
Late Season Pressure
Predators

Unless something changes with all three, nothing will change.

Thoughts?
 

NoDeerHere

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JDK

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I'd think that a harvest of 31 or 33 deer in zone 5 should be a wake up call for IFW More deer were killed in Addison (downeast where there are no deer) than zone 3 and 5 combined.
 

longbow

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I feel the numbers were down this year quite a bit as compared to last year. I’m thinking the snow last winter had something to do with it and of course coupled with harvesting all the deer yard timber. Maybe the deer are not finding adequate shelter when a bad winter comes. I hunt in zone five, and have been hunting there every year since 1994.
 

groundtender

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I know someone will come along and say they saw 300 deer during the season but by all accounts the deer herd is way down and the number of "big" bucks is depressing. My thoughts, and they are intertwined:

Timber Harvesting
Late Season Pressure
Predators

Unless something changes with all three, nothing will change.

Thoughts?
I agree. The IFW deer biologist back in the 90’s told me that extending seasons would over time put added pressure on bucks, big ones as well as immature ones. It’s been a darn long time since every deer group tracks in the snow contained a big buck’s track.
 
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NoDeerHere

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Five or six years ago I was surfing for hunting lodges I might want to hunt and I sent an email to one of them asking how many deer they shot the year before and what was the hunter success per cent. It was some where near and could have been Oxbow lodge? Does not really matter who it was but I did not even get a response? That says it all.
 

JDK

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I can't remember exactly when but I'm going to say 3-4 years ago. We were headed to Millimagassett Lake icefishing. Conditions were really good with only about 2 feet of snow. The trail we used is located through a DWA. We could not get over the number of dead deer. I'm remembering that there were at least 15-20 in the short ride to the lake and easily that many on the lake. What tipped us off was the number of coyote tracks we saw in the snow and Bald Eagles sitting in trees. Didn't make a lot of sense at the time.

I know that area got whacked by Orion.
 

JDK

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Closer to home.

My little slice of heaven has been hammered the last few years with snow. We seem to be winning the lottery each year. There is a deer yard across the road that normally has anywhere between 5-15 deer. This year, none. The landowner also is now getting it cut and there is a lot of wood coming off that piece. His land but I wonder where those deer go when all of the other surrounding landowners have done the same in the last 4-6 years. The yard along Route 1 in Caribou was absolutely flattened last winter. The deer were standing around and looking lost.

Another fact that often doesn't get mentioned is the number of deer/vehicle collisions each year. Monticello, Caribou, Ashland, Portage, and Allagash get hammered and more deer are killed than in the hunting seasons.

Seems to me that trying to shove more deer into smaller spaces isn't going to work.
 

KM1968

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Yeah that is pretty sad when you compare those harvest maps. The late season hunting could be changed by Fish and Game. I doubt cutting will ever change due to the fact it is on privately owned lands. If not for the lynx issue; snaring around winter yards was an effective control on coyotes.

Not sure what all this means for the future of the Northern Maine deer herd. While the feeding in towns in absence of traditional yards is keeping the remaining deer alive, it puts crazy pressure on the mature bucks.
 

JDK

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Yeah that is pretty sad when you compare those harvest maps. The late season hunting could be changed by Fish and Game. I doubt cutting will ever change due to the fact it is on privately owned lands. If not for the lynx issue; snaring around winter yards was an effective control on coyotes.

Not sure what all this means for the future of the Northern Maine deer herd. While the feeding in towns in absence of traditional yards is keeping the remaining deer alive, it puts crazy pressure on the mature bucks.

Irving and IFW and planning to try to slow the migration into Allagash by blocking routes with small block cuts. Their hope is that the deer bypassing "good" DWA habitat stop and use it. I hope someone tells the deer.
 

KM1968

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JDK - I hope it works but I can't think of a lot of suitable wintering habitat. Pretty well cut over. Are they going to put blocking routes for the deer going to Canada?
 

JDK

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JDK - I hope it works but I can't think of a lot of suitable wintering habitat. Pretty well cut over. Are they going to put blocking routes for the deer going to Canada?

Open borders:)
 

JDK

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I have to admit that I always disagree when someone says "weather." We've always had weather and snow and in a lot of cases deep snow. What we haven't had is the fragmentation of the habitat that we have now.

We also had a lot of late season pressure on deer moving to yards. My late father-in-law hunted migration routes, along with all of Madawaska, Quebec, and New Brunswick in the Big and Little Black River Basins, Blue Pond, Wildcat, Bass, Bogan, Schedule Brooks and others areas. These places were popular and hunted hard.

What changed?
 

257Roberts

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I hate to Bash Maine, but I gave up hunting in Maine, the locals HATE people from away and as soon as deer season approaches the no hunting signs go up.......even my buddies place the we hunted, the area around kept shrinking and shrinking to the point that I said, F Maine, I wont even fish there anymore, too bad, but I'll spend my money elsewhere (NH& Mass) both have better populations of deer than Maine anyway. and you can hunt in NH on Sundays!!!
 

skinner

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I love Maine and have been here for 78+ years and have hunted and fished most of those years. shot a Few deer, moose. hares, coons, coyotes, cats, fox and whatever legal. have hunted and fished with a lot of great people, several are not here any more. each year more and more land is posted for a lot of reasons as more and more people move here. years ago I went to new York state to hunt turkeys, I was shocked to see all the no hunting signs but amazed at the response a simple ask permission got. a few no for good reasons but I came away with a lot of places to hunt. enough babbling, Maine has hundreds of thousands of sportspeople that all want their little piece of the pie. Maine has several groups that are trying but can you imagine if the Sportsmans Alliance of Maine had a least half of the licensed sportspeople as members the votes possible.
 

JDK

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A portion of the YouTube generation is all about antler restrictions and food plots. We are seeing more and more of that each year. Sad part is when their plots aren’t producing, the first thing they do is pile onto non posted land that has a few deer

Also the antler restrictions crew seem to throw out their morals when they draw a moose tag and want the grand slam. Then it is anything with balls , especially if it is muzzleloader season

what someone does with their land or what they decide to shoot/not shoot is their business. However they seem to want to shove their beliefs down everyone’s throats until they don’t work.
 

JDK

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But that also doesn’t explain the lack of deer

what I am also seeing in my area is that the Industrial farming practices have changed. The rotational crop of oats underseeded with clover has changed a bit. Farmers used to leave clover until late Fall or early spring. Now as soon as the oats are harvested they till every under. Also the equipment has gotten so big that they are removing hedgerows. Fields are now giant dirt patches in October
 

longbow

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I hate to Bash Maine, but I gave up hunting in Maine, the locals HATE people from away
I'm sure some do, but I think it is an attitude that may be based on experiences with outsiders. Maine, "Vacationland" is invaded by people for all over during the summer and winter. A lot of them are pure "A-holes" I'm sure. Then you have people from "away" that move there and want to change everything. Over the years I have found that the initial apprehension some display goes away after they get to know you. Of course if you are one of the "A-holes", they are happy when you leave. lol
 




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