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990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been around Michigan where winters are way worse than anywhere in Maine and there are more deer than you could kill off if you set out to do just that.
Growing up in Maine I got used to hearing about the winter kill and how everyone would agree that it is the hard Maine winters. Not so.
What the problem is that (where the big bucks were) the logging companies only plant soft wood tree's and deer cant live on evergreens. The cedar swamps are almost gone now and deer need cedar swamps... Because there is no hardwoods left in the upper region.

I am married to a biologist that specializes in whitetail reproduction and habitat, so I have gotten a real education over the years as to just what is wrong in Maine. We came back a few years ago and she met with a state official in charge of deer herd management.... Was she ever blown away by the assumptions that this guy was working with. She walked out of there convinced that if this guy was indicative of what Maine had to offer, the whitetails were doomed in the upper region. I found it to be funny that this was her take because I knew full well the ignorance she was going to come up against.
The fact is that (like most folks in Maine) this guy didn't know anything beyond folk lore and legend. The one thing that she still talks about is how she was told (flat out) that the biggest problem facing the deer herd was the turkey population. She doesn't laugh when she relates these comments made during her meeting.


How are you folks dealing with this?. Is there any hope at all or is Maine doomed to be the has been, for big woods deer hunters?.
(Yes I am in Ohio.... Because deer hunting in Maine dried up 30 years ago)

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Right off the MBA (maine bowhunters association) site.
Of course many of the points are correct but many are not and beyond that... Notice how the need to hunt is the overwhelming theme?.
This is where Mainers fall flat on their faces. God forbid that we don't get to hunt and kill every year... regardless of how few deer there may be.
Been this way my entire life and will always be this way undoubtedly. While the south may be fine for harvest, the northern area's should be drawing only... just like Moose IMO.

It's just so darn discouraging!. Ignorance and greed on parade!.


Mature does will regularly give birth to twins yearly.
Single and triplet fawns are not uncommon.
Two deer without predation can produce a herd of up to135 deer in 7 years ( can... in a perfect world)
Deer can live up to 18 years. (In what zoo?!)
Food types include grasses, shrubs, leaves, needles (?)and "mast" from oak, beech, and apple trees.
In areas of overpopulation, deer can cause an "over browsing" effect which destroys most plant species up to six feet destroying the forest renewal process. Gardens, plants and shrubs can also be destroyed. (HUH?!... I lived for 20+ years in an area of over 100 per. sq. mile and never saw anything like this description)
Undernourished deer are smaller- weaker and prone to die from starvation. This is not good for the environment nor is it good stewardship of the animals.
Deer require 10-12 pounds of food each day for most of the year.
In late winter their diet is supplemented by their stored fat.
This is usually the time when overpopulated deer herds extend their range (I thought deer didn't extend their range?... so says the MBA here in just a minute)into back yards to consume your shrubs and plants! However, this can happen at any time of year!
When deer run out of stored fat and available browse they start to metabolize their bone marrow and starvation is eminent.
Deer are ruminants and have multi chambered stomachs similar to cows.
Deer establish a home range and will not leave it.( not even to extend their range?.... which is it?! - HA!)
Deer are known to starve or drown rather than leave their home range. Example: The islands along Maine's coast and many coastal communities suffer this problem, right now!

Deer, being adaptable, learn to live around humans and the "edges" we create.
Deer are crepuscular (feeding mostly at dawn and dust) and /or nocturnal, (feeding only at night) especially if pressured. (Or Bucks of 3 years age or older)
Farmers, orchardist, foresters and nurserymen suffer crop damage from deer.
Car collisions result in property loss, personal injury and occasional human fatalities, adding to our increased insurance and medical cost.
Deer are host to the tick that carries Lyme Disease. (like every other mammal)
Failure to manage the deer herd makes forest and land management nearly impossible. ( HA!.... Largest apple orchards in NY are in the highest deer population area's. Just an example of the over reaching foolish nonsense espoused by the Mainers)
Forests fail to regenerate when deer exceed 40 per square mile. (Ohio and NY have area's over 100 deer per square mile and there is no such evidence of such damage to anything)

There is a reason that I dont tell anyone I am from Maine.

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
MBA winter issue: Just another ignorant assumption by the Maine bowhunting Reps. Michigan has crossbow and one of the largest deer herds in the country as well as more hunters than Maine has people. What makes this more northern state better than Maine in terms of deer?. It sure isn't the lack of crossbows!. Proper management of land and the herd is what it takes. Michigan stomps Maine in management. Mainers would lose their minds to have to manage the way they do in MI ;)
How about Ohio?. Not a southern state by any stretch of the imagination but crossbows are welcome and more deer killed in a year than Maine could produce in a generation. Oh Boy!

According to information from outdoor writer Bob

There are 22 northern tier states that do not allow
crossbows during the archery season. You may ask why
and it is very simple – all these northern tier states have
plenty of hunters, but lower deer populations compared to
the southern half of the United States. None of our other
New England neighbor states allow crossbows during the
archery season, so why do Maine hunters “think” they know
better than all our neighbor states?.

Flat out ignorance!. I don't mean that is a hurtful way... I mean that in the way that ignorance is described in a dictionary.

something like 18K deer taken state wide in Maine 2011 and the crossbow is the problem?!. How about the State is the problem?!!.

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
How do you save the Mainers deer herd?.

Start with a Maine Wildlife Biologist, a rope and a tree.
Some assembly required.


Do I come off as angry?. Well that's because the state and it's inhabitants have destroyed the hunting in Maine. A big black gear used to be 300-400# and that was average. Today it is half that. The deer numbers in the big woods is the lowest I remember it (ever) and the Moose?.....when is the last time you saw a real Maine trophy Moose?.
Fish?... oh sure, Maine has fish.... full of mercury. Makes them easy to gig at night as they darn near glow as they swim past you!.
The partridge numbers and snowshoe hares are so down that I doubt they will ever come back...due to the coyotes which the state guards as if they were gold egg laying chickens.


990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
O.K.... Rant over. I am sure someone is going to try and post up a big bear or two and a moose along with a few partridge and snowshoes in order to try and debunk my contentions.... as always. I will put it up to the fact that most Mainers are homeboys that wouldn't know management and quality if they were pointed to it by the lord almighty himself. A Mainer would just find some reason to explain to the lord why Maine is an exception to the rules that work for everyone else but Maine!. ;)

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thought I was done

Declining winter deer habitat is a major concern throughout northern Maine, including the Moosehead Lake area where this deer was photographed last winter.

Bangor Daily News Posted March 17, 2011,

AUGUSTA, Maine —
Citing the importance of a healthy deer herd to Maine’s economy and heritage, Gov. Paul LePage and the state’s top game official on Thursday unveiled a multipoint strategy to replenish the white tail numbers in hardest-hit areas.

LePage said a string of severe winters, habitat loss, attacks by coyotes and human causes including poaching and highway collisions are at the heart of a loss of deer that’s especially serious in northern, eastern and western Maine. Deer are abundant in the southern and central parts of the state.
No talk about that timber land though right?. Habitat loss... yeah thats the ticket!. Now what caused this habitat loss?. Timber companies.
Wouldn't want to take a few pounds of flesh less would we?. Lets just put it out there as habitat loss so that we can look for a reason for this loss rather than look at the reason for the loss.
But we can sure as heck point with laser like intensiveness on the winter..., as usual!.

Deer hunting and viewing represent at least $200 million a year in Maine’s economy, drawing money to motels, sporting camps, restaurants, guide services and other businesses, LePage said. Maine registers roughly 146,000 resident hunters and nearly 30,000 nonresident hunters.

But fall deer harvests have dropped in recent years to some of the lowest levels recorded in the state, said Senate President Kevin Raye. That leaves Maine, long known for its big bucks, in the position of becoming less desirable to hunters.

“The value of our whitetail population cannot be overstated,” said Raye, a Republican whose Washington County district is one of those hit by low deer numbers.
30 years too late but they finally noticed! ;)

DIF&W Commissioner Chandler Woodcock said there is no single cause for the decline, which has led to deer density numbers as low as 1.5 to two deer per square mile in some areas, versus a goal of 7 to 10 deer per square mile. But Woodcock said it’s time for action.
No one reason?. Not even maybe the fact that 2/3 of the state has been either turned into a potato field or clear cut and re[planted with a tree that only a red squirrel could love?. Typical!

“This effort is going to take some time,” said Woodcock. “It won’t happen overnight.”
Especially since we are going to find and kill the last poplar and birch if it's the last thing we help me God!. And lord help the Maple or Oak we may find while searching for that poplar and birch!. (He might as well have said.)

During a State House press conference on Thursday, Woodcock and LePage outlined a plan that represents several years of discussions between DIF&W officials, sportsmen, lawmakers and wildlife conservation groups.
Yes... discussion. Discussion like the one that went on amongst the judean people front in life of Brian. The kind of discussion that notes the facts and then laments the facts while not addressing the facts. Wouldn't want to do anything hasty!.

The plan stresses the importance of recognizing and protecting deer yards, which are areas where deer seek shelter from the snow and weather during winter.

Such deer wintering areas — which typically feature enclosed canopies of fir trees — are critical to the survival of whitetailed deer in Maine, which due to the heavy snow and severe winters represents the northern edge of the species’ range.
Yes by all means... lets build them a shed in the desert!. that's what they need and that's all they need.... maybe. Couldn't they just curl up in the brush piles left behind by the loggers?. Maybe warm themselves under the idling trucks as they are being loaded?. Got to be a way to keep the loggers happy while addressing this!.

The deer restoration plan also includes more coyote control in targeted areas, additional deer-crossing warnings along highways where a lot of collisions occur and higher fines for poaching in hard-hit areas.
I figured as much. The people of Maine are considered to be 2/3 of the problem that deer face. ;)
Cant believe the Coyote even got an honorable mention!. :mg:

One method mentioned Thursday — and endorsed by both LePage and several conservation groups — is to use more funding from the Land for Maine’s Future program to encourage landowners to protect deer yards, which are locations where deer seek shelter during winter.

But LePage’s support for using LMF funds to protect deer yards could come into conflict with his clear opposition to new bonding measures.

In November, voters approved $6.5 million in bonds for LMF programs that target forests and wildlife habitat. Traditionally, competition for LMF funding is intense, with the program’s board receiving far more requests than can be accommodated.

Sen. David Trahan, a Waldoboro Republican who has been helping lead the effort to rebuild Maine’s deer herd, has proposed a $36 million bond measure to replenish LMF accounts. When asked whether he was prepared to say how he felt about Trahan’s LMF bond package, LePage replied with a simple “no.”
You don't say!?!. I am shocked!! ;)

Trahan said language he has proposed would give more weight to LMF proposals that seek to protect deer yards. Those changes are a critical part of any effort moving forward and a significant policy change that he hopes the Legislature will endorse, Trahan said.

As for the debate over bonding, Trahan indicated he believes it would be premature to discuss the issue since lawmakers have yet to decide whether to approve a bond package.

“That is a policy decision that is now in the Legislature’s jurisdiction,” Trahan said.
Uh HUH... keep hoping!

Predators — coyotes in particular — are often mentioned as a major cause of the low deer numbers in many parts of Maine. But Woodcock said coyotes and bears are not solely to blame for the struggles of deer in Maine. And as the intense debates over coyote snaring and hunting bear over bait illustrated, significantly expanding hunting of either of those two predators would likely encounter substantial political kickback.

Speaking after the media event, Trahan said he believes the coyote snaring issue is off the table. He also acknowledged that restoring the deer herd in some areas may take as long as 15 or 20 years, but the key is protecting both deer habitat and deer in that habitat.
How many golden eggs does a coyote lay anyway?. ;) These people are always talking out both sides of their mouths!. :pukey:

“Until we have habitat, we are not going to get there,” Trahan said.

The plan has support from an array of sporting and conservation organizations, whose members crowded a State House news conference.

Among them was John Chapman of Athens, whose 250 acres includes a deer yard he manages. Chapman describes a typical deer yard as a cedar or fir stand that provides a covering from deep snow, nourishment from trees and protection from sharp winter winds. He said a deer without a yard “is like a cow without a barn.”

Aside from advising other landowners how to maintain those yards, Chapman provides feed to help deer get through the winter, a practice generally frowned upon by state biologists. But a bill seen as one of the multiple strategies to rebuild the deer herd seeks to establish standards to feed deer.

“You just want to get them through to the next spring,” said Chapman. “And if you get them through the spring, what you’ve got is a good rack there.”
Yes!... lets get them through one winter and then decimate them all over again!. Isn't this fun?!. Who's turn is it to feed the coyotes?.

LePage said he has also sent a letter to federal wildlife officials asking for a decision on Maine’s applications for a so-called “incidental take permit” to absolve the state — or trappers — from liability if they accidentally kill a Canada lynx through otherwise legal trapping practices.

Maine DIF&W has been the target of several lawsuits contending that the state’s trapping regulations were causing harm to populations of the federally protected wildcats because lynx occasionally end up in traps.

In response to court orders, the state added additional restrictions on trappers in hopes of avoiding additional incidents involving lynx. But despite several revisions to its application, Maine has yet to receive an incidental take permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

LePage said, however, that he was “very encouraged” that the federal government will give the state an answer.

“The whole issue is around the Canadian lynx and I keep telling them that, remember, it is Canadian lynx and we live in Maine,” LePage said with a smile.
Hmmmm ,,, Is this is the same guy that said the big O could kiss it because the federal goverment didn't control the states intrests?. :secret:

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·

It would take me a day to rip this report apart so why bother?. Any intelligent individual with a bit of education can read this and see where the problems exist for the Maine whitetail.
The fox is controlling the hen house.

State wildlife officials are given their marching orders and the reports focus on deer as the problem rather than the policies of the state in regard to lumber.
I love how this report talks out both sides of it's to speak.
The deer are ruining the tree's during the winter. Why is that?. Could it be because there are not enough tree's left?. OF COURSE NOT!.
No!... the deer need to be managed to save the few tree's that the lumber companies haven't gotten to yet. Winter yards?. well sorry... the deer are just gonna have to hang tough till the contracts are up for renewal. Maybe then they will catch a break. HA!...yeah right!.

Are any of you people back home gonna do anything other than let the massoles down south tell you what to do and then complain about it?. This is a 2000 report that basically mentioned the deer and told you how the state was going to continue to allow them to be slowly wiped out. Here it is 13 years later and guess what!?!... the plan worked!.
Now they are saying that they see it worked and they will think about the consequences of that past plan while they sit on their butts until there are no deer left. That's really what is going on here. The deer herd isn't even on the radar screen other than when they have to say something to let everyone know that they do remember that there are deer in Maine. Not going to do anything about it but they will admit it.

In another 13 years they can start talking about how much Maine is like it was in the 1930's where seeing a deer in central maine was like seeing an elf and how they are going to work to get it back to 1940's levels... if they can.... which they wont.
This is why I left and this is why I wont be back. :pukey:

O.K.... I think I am done now.
Hey LaPage!.... Suck it!

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I cant let it go!

Take notice of where this guys head is at. Manage the deer?. As if they are a threat!?!.
This is the mindset behind every biologist that is employed in Maine. They get their marching orders and they continue on with those orders even after they are dismissed from duty.
I will highlight the mindset that works against the deer in Maine. Toward the end of this diatribe you will see only one mention of logging but a long winded detail of the problem that logging contributes...without a second mention of logging.
As if the woods had just evaporated mysteriously. Yes logging was mentioned but not condemned openly. I guess this guy just slipped up while being interviewed. :embara:
Why did the deer start to die off in the 60's?. Wouldn't be due to the increase in mechanized logging now would it?. Wouldn't be because all the hardwoods were cut down and replanted with spruce would it?.

In the first part he is talking about managing the whitetail in the northwoods. This is insanity... clearly. The northwoods was like the Yukon back then. No management needed. None the less, this guys head is so in tune with killing deer that he just cant hear what a fool he sounds like, to a Mainer such as myself... who's family worked the northwoods for three generations. Typically nobody in Maine can notice the difference either. Everyone (seemingly) is brain washed or they just don't care. Show me a Mainer that will suggest closing a season to recoup numbers and I will show you a transplant!.

I just cant believe it's the same after all these years!.

Oh and by the way... his mention of the decline of the deer herd in the northwoods between the 1900-1960's. He forget to mention the great depression which brought thousands of people into the northwoods for jobs. My great grandfather and grandfather had pictures where hundreds of deer were hanging in the tree's around these logging camps. I asked why the heck they killed so many and my grandfather just laughed and said "See this picture (a hundred deer no doubt) that was a weeks meals back then.
Over population my rear end!. Great depression and over harvest is what did in the deer back then.


By Gerry Lavigne, wildlife biologist, SAM
Posted May 29, 2012,

The arrival of the eastern coyote in the Northeastern United States and Maritime Canada has had a profound impact on the wildlife ecology of the region.

For 30 years (1975-2005), I served as the deer management and research biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. During that tenure, we struggled to maintain viable populations of white-tailed deer in the face of major habitat changes and the presence of a new deer predator, the eastern coyote.

After gray wolves died out during the late 1800s in the Northeast, Maine lacked a canine predator that could efficiently kill white-tailed deer. Wherever hunter access was good, deer populations could be held in check with our either-sex (buck or doe) hunting seasons. Where hunting access was poor, as in the big woods of northern and eastern Maine prior to the 1970s, deer populations were more difficult to manage.

Between the 1880s and early 1960s, deer in the northern half of Maine experienced several cycles of extreme abundance, followed by crashes to low numbers caused by over-browsing and subsequent starvation during severe winters.

Since the 1960s, deer populations in the northern half of Maine have been steadily declining, due to two additional mortality factors not present earlier: predation by coyotes and degradation of wintering habitat. Even in the more deer-friendly central and southern parts of Maine, deer mortality increased with the arrival of the coyote.

Coyotes are not native to Maine or to the Northeast. Into the vacuum created by the disappearance of gray wolves, coyotes began to migrate across the northern tier of Midwestern states and adjacent parts of Canada. Along the way they evidently interbred with remnant populations of wolves. Hence, eastern coyotes are mostly coyote but also part wolf, genetically, physically, and behaviorally. At 25 to 50 pounds, eastern coyotes are larger than their western cousins, their family groups tend to stay together longer during the year, and they are more efficient deer predators.

Mainers began encountering coyotes in the 1950s, and coyotes existed statewide at peak numbers by the late 1970s. Southeastern Quebec got coyotes slightly earlier, while New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were colonized somewhat later.

Unlike the much larger gray wolf, coyotes thrive on smaller prey during part of the year in Maine. Being a mid-sized carnivore gives them a distinct survival advantage. They can efficiently prey on mice, songbirds, turkeys, snowshoe hares, raccoons, beaver, fawn and adult deer, and pet cats and dogs if the opportunity arises. They also dine on fruits and carrion. Such flexibility in acquiring its groceries enables the coyote to thrive almost anywhere in Maine.

During the past 40 years, coyote predation on deer has been researched extensively by state, provincial, and federal fish and wildlife agencies, as well as universities, here in the Northeast. There are two excellent reviews of coyote/deer research available. One is “Eastern Coyote: The Story of Its Success,” a 1995 book by Canadian wildlife biologist Gerry Parker. A 2008 scientific report (CFRU Research Report RR-08-02) was produced by wildlife biologists Pete Pekins and Matt Tarr for the Cooperative Forestry Research Unit at the University of Maine. It is a critical analysis of the winter ecology of deer in northern Maine deer wintering areas.

It has been widely stated that coyotes only kill old, weak, or sick deer, thus culling the herd of unfit animals that would soon die anyway. Eastern coyotes do take any unfit deer they encounter, but research has shown conclusively that they are also very capable of killing healthy deer under several, sometimes common, conditions.

Coyotes can prey on any deer in deep snow. A deer chased into two feet or more of snow soon flounders, and becomes dinner for coyotes regardless of its physical condition. Snow depths exceeding two feet are the norm in northern Maine for weeks on end. In central and southern Maine, deep snow occurs less frequently and for shorter duration, but it still enables coyotes to readily kill deer.

Glare ice on lakes, ponds, and streams also helps coyotes kill deer regardless of physical condition. Deer hooves offer little traction on glare ice; coyote claws do. Deer fall, cannot get back up, and become easy prey. Since nearly all Maine deer wintering areas occur along waterways, these conditions can be commonplace.

The quality of deer wintering habitat also influences coyote predation. Deer seek out dense, tall, mature evergreen forests in winter because the thick overhead canopy shelters them from the wind, provides food, and reduces the snow depth underneath so efficiently that it is typically half that in open areas or hardwood forests. Widespread tracts of mature evergreen forest allow wintering deer to create an extensive trail system that aids in both finding food and escaping predators.
disturbances that fragment these forests, reduce their size, or excessively thin the canopy, result in deeper snow, reduced foraging ability, and higher losses to coyote predation and malnutrition.

During the past 40 years, northern and eastern Maine conifer forests have been extensively altered by spruce budworm infestations and by logging. Many forests that once sheltered deer can no longer do so. Others forests remain, but in less than optimum condition. A few forests still provide high quality deer yard habitat, but coyotes can kill some deer even here. Coyotes can hold deer numbers below what any habitat can sustain.

Severe winters also greatly affect deer survival. Long winters with prolonged cold and deep snow take their toll.

Too often deer are losing a race against time. All winter they subsist on poor quality foods and continually lose weight. Deep snow that restricts them to trails makes finding adequate food difficult.

After 10 to 12 weeks of severe nutritional deprivation, death by malnutrition becomes evident. Fawns and mature bucks are usually the first to die; mature does are the most resilient.

Losses to both malnutrition and coyote predation inevitably increase during severe winters. Because coyotes can prey on healthy deer in deep snow, winter deer losses are typically higher when coyotes are present. In other words, deer losses to coyotes don’t merely replace starvation losses; to some degree they add to them.

Coyotes also sometimes kill adult deer during snow-free months. Some of this predation occurs in spring, when winter-weakened deer are moving onto summer range. Other losses occur during summer and fall, when most deer should be in good physical condition. It is probable that cooperative hunting by two or more coyotes, another wolf-like trait, tips the scales in the coyotes’ favor.

Eastern coyotes also target newborn deer fawns, which are relatively defenseless and often occur in predictable habitats. Coyotes, along with black bears, bobcats, red fox, fishers, and feral dogs, may collectively have a profound negative impact on fawn survival.

Maine’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department does not routinely estimate how many deer are lost annually to coyotes in Maine. That number undoubtedly varies, yet the addition of this new predator has definitely added to herd losses, not merely replaced others.

In a 1995 report to the Maine Legislature, I estimated that the statewide deer herd numbered about 200,000, and roughly 22,000 were lost to coyotes. Whenever a single mortality factor approaches 10 percent of the deer population, given all the other mortality that deer experience, deer managers need to take notice.

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention in the above commentary... Notice how the state "studied" the coyote problem?. How Long?. And did what?.
Yeah... That's what I am on about.

This all came rushing back to me today when my wife said (for the hundredth time) that she would like to move back to Maine. I love Maine as far as the landscape but everything about Maine as far as politics and management makes me hate Maine. This state has been so ineptly handled and managed for so long that there is no turning back.
I would love to return to 1970 Maine but then again... I would have to relive the rape of the land that I loved all over again. It has been hard enough to watch from 1000 miles away. I couldn't imagine being there for it all over again. :(

Michigan is the Maine for me. Michigan is full of Mainers with balls. Mainers have no balls.
Michigan is full of wildlife and people who care about it. Maine is a shadow of it''s former self and is terminally ill.... never to recover again. Maine is full of people who sit on their hands and wait for someone to change things. Mainers are lazy, inept, corrupt and not deserving of one penny of mine via tax or hunting license.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves. I am ashamed of my home state and everyone who allowed it to be sold out from under them.
Honestly... It is just sad. Glad to be out of there.

You reading this sweetheart?. ;)

336 Posts
I started wildlife science in college in Maine during the 80s. Worked on white-tailed deer wintering habitat there most of my undergrad years. Since went on to grad school out west and been west ever since. I can tell you this, the state wildlife in all states would be better managed with knowledgeable people bird-dogging them like yourself. Too many of our public are also steeped in not knowing " anything beyond folk lore and legend." (love it) Tear 'em up! We noticed wintering habitat was a problem in the 80s! But, like state wildlife agencies across this country, they 'monitor populations to extinction". Watch them decline year after year and don't manage anything.

178 Posts
Tons of coyotes now compared to the 80s when i lived there with no plan or incentive to get rid of them. My father and uncle go to quebec to hunt. Paper company land changes and food habitat. Much of maine is bucks only. It should only get worse

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I started wildlife science in college in Maine during the 80s. Worked on white-tailed deer wintering habitat there most of my undergrad years. Since went on to grad school out west and been west ever since. I can tell you this, the state wildlife in all states would be better managed with knowledgeable people bird-dogging them like yourself. Too many of our public are also steeped in not knowing " anything beyond folk lore and legend." (love it) Tear 'em up! We noticed wintering habitat was a problem in the 80s! But, like state wildlife agencies across this country, they 'monitor populations to extinction". Watch them decline year after year and don't manage anything.
Yup!. The 70's were the beginning of the end as far as rapid rate goes. Back in the old days...way before the 70's there was just no way to cause the detriment to the land because there were only horses and buck saws. The mills that used mercury to strip wood didn't respect what could happen in the way that they would now... with government oversight that is ;)

The problem with Maine is that after the war the textile factories went away and there was nothing left but the ocean and potatoes. The fish market (before the 70's) was dismal. You could buy a sleeping bag full of Cod for an hours wages and potatoes were almost as cheap. The wood mills were it and that's all there was. Instead of individuals getting off their butts and creating their own jobs and industry, they took the easy route and worked for the mills.

As the hippies took over the state and regulation changed to force replanting without regulation as to what was planted, the lumber companies eliminated the hardwood range throughout the northeast as was mandated. Before the hippies got the ear of the governor, the deer were loving the northwoods. the loggers would pull out for ten years and the new growth would add a plethora of food stuffs to the surroundings. The deer were in heaven and the state got the reputation (deservedly) of being the big buck state.

As the people sat in their 8-4 jobs and withered away, the state regulated itself into a strangle hold while attempting to please the out of staters who were the only ones bringing in new money. The government of Maine basically sold out to any interest (no matter how absurd) and in the end spoiled the state that once was. The people?.... they sat there and moaned about it. They are still moaning about it.

Maine is a place where a nobody can get elected, make some deals under the table to get some wealth for themselves and BS a population of numb skulls who are accustomed to being BS'd. Brain washed if you will. This is just business as usual in Maine. Everyone knows and nobody cares enough to take a stand. I think our current federal governmental officials have been studying Maine because they blow that hot air up everyone's butts now-a-days the way Mainers have been receiving it for the last 70 years.

Maybe that's why Mainers are so passive and laid back. A nice warm breeze will do that to you. ;)

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Tons of coyotes now compared to the 80s when i lived there with no plan or incentive to get rid of them. My father and uncle go to quebec to hunt. Paper company land changes and food habitat. Much of maine is bucks only. It should only get worse
Garland is the last Bastian of good land in the central and it's pretty much gone above there. I have an acquaintance in Millinocket that takes a good Buck every year but he also goes through an outfitter ;)
Imagine that?.... a Mainer using an outfitter?. That's how bad it has gotten!.

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Product Text Font

Here is more proof big bucks are going the way of the T-Rex in Maine. Mainers are killing bucks earlier because there are no Doe tags in big buck country. There are no Doe tags because the state has managed to kill the population numbers... very literally!.
One thing I could say back 50 years ago was that most Mainers were trophy hunters. If a Mainer was just going to shoot a deer for meat then a doe was as good as a buck many times. A mature doe in Maine is bigger than any Texas Buck and nearly as big as any Ohio Buck. I will have to find and post the picture of my wife with her 205# Doe on the meat pole from a few years ago. That thing looks like a small moose next to her :). But I digress...

The fact that there is less habitat for trophy bucks means there are less trophy Bucks. The fact that there is no alternative for shooting a small Buck means small Bucks get shot. I am not saying that is right to do but again... that's a Mainer. To be honest that a Michigander too.
Michiganders have to have horns so there are few big bucks.
Mainers have to have meat so there are few big bucks.
And so it goes.

If it were up to me, Maine would have a 2 day gun season around January 1st....single shot muzzle loader... pistol... flint lock!!
And a 1 month archery season starting first of December...with traditional only gear.... 80# minimum draw weight.... @ 18"!!
After 10 years we would drop the draw weight down to 40# and allow a 2 day gun season. ;)

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Stumbling towards the light - OMG!... It's a train!!

And here we go!. Another tired, tried and refuted management tool for better Bucks. Ughhh!~ Why?.
Actually, this Mainer gets it (sort of) but being a Mainer he has to embrace those long range killing tactics that are proven to reduce herd numbers every time they are allowed in the woods. Point restrictions?.... Really??.

Point restrictions in Maine would go something like this... Oh damn!. Drag him over there and we can get him tonight.
Mainers shoot first and ask questions later... (again) Truth!.

Point restrictions allow poor genes to pass for years and trophy genes to be killed off rapidly. That 5 year old fork horn is going to be passing on alot of junk while that 8pt. 2 year old is getting blasted. Stupid stupid stupid!!!!
Back to the folk lore I was speaking of earlier. The old timers belief that a deer adds points every year. Believe me... this is what is going through this authors mind. I would bet on it any day.

A reduced rifle season would go further in increasing deer takes and works everywhere it is tried. Don't bother taking days away, just increase the archery season and reduce the gun season. Easy. Works!.

I just put this guys whole essay up here to show that I am not the only one that understand the problem within the state.

Should Maine Impose Whitetail Antler Restrictions?
By Bob Provencher

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife is under new management. In response to a growing public outcry over the decline of Maine’s whitetail deer herd, IF&W, under newly appointed Commissioner of DIF&W, Chandler Woodcock, has quickly put forward a deer management plan to address the issue. “Maine’s Game Plan for Deer” (a 38 page document) does a good job of describing the context and the history of the problem. It acknowledges a $200 million dollar economic impact to the State. But what it doesn’t do is provide a course of action that will bring the herd back to legendary standards that existed in its “hay day”. Those of us that have been around realize that that ship has already sailed! The question we need to focus on now is what to do with what we have left.

Unfortunately, the “Game Plan” seems a rehash of old department strategies such as cooperative agreements with landowners, half-hearted predator reduction, and a decades-to-come time frame for results. The plan may be well intended, but to my eye it’s more of the status quo and misses the point that we need to take action now.

Addressing the coyote issue is at the top of the list of actions that will immediately impact the health of the deer herd. (Talk with the Maine Trappers Association about real solutions!) Habitat is another area of concern being scrutinized that will hopefully boost deer numbers. (Don’t hold your breath!) But a quality herd cannot just be defined by numbers of deer alone. The proper management of the Maine deer herd must also address both the age structure and sex ratio imbalances as they exist today. “Bucks-only” or “any-deer permit” management serves only to address the total number of deer in a population by protecting breeding does. Antler restricted hunting, when combined with the current doe-permit system, would accomplish all of these goals.

Those deer hunters old enough to remember unrestricted either sex hunting will recall a quality Maine deer herd. Buck-to-doe ratios were significantly higher, with a healthy distribution of different age classes within both sexes. What was different back then was: 1) fewer coyotes; 2) more and better habitat; and 3) less hunting pressure on bucks. Mature bucks were always a sought after prize, but so was a big doe.

I would argue that “bucks-only” (and later the any-deer permit system) changed the culture of Maine deer hunters by turning our focus to buck hunting. The doe restriction gave IF&W a proactive population management tool that produced measurable results in the annual deer harvest total numbers. But it also started us down a slippery slope to where Maine’s harvest totals today are predominately made up of 1-1/2 year-old bucks and a managed doe (antler-less) kill. The number of yearling bucks taken annually today exceeds reasonable limits.

Most experienced deer hunters will tell you that yearling bucks are much easier to kill than 2-1/2 year-olds. Few bucks make it to 2-1/2 years of age under the current doe permit system. The lack in recruitment numbers to the 2-1/2 year-old stage results in a decreased number of older bucks in the harvest (and in the herd).

An inordinate yearling buck harvest is not without consequences.

The importance of a more naturally balanced age structure in the deer herd becomes apparent in the northeast when we’re visited by a severe winter. Deer winter kills are primarily made up of young deer and older deer that are least equipped to make it through to spring. Yearling bucks, because of their smaller body weights, fall into this category of susceptible deer. While I can’t give specific numbers, if say for the point of example the age-structure ratio of bucks in the herd has evolved to where only 20% of the buck population is 2-1/2 years or older, then one bad winter’s deer kill numbers will include a much higher percentage of the herd’s bucks (80% of which are fawns or 1-1/2 year-olds) than of its does (which are more evenly distributed across all age classes). This translates to a much higher percentage of winter killed deer relative to the total herd population than would occur in a herd with a better balanced range of ages present in both sexes.

As bad as this scenario is, the cause and effect doesn’t end with just another bad winter for bucks, because this sets up a domino effect where breeding is concerned. On the heels of a bad winter, the reduced number of breeding bucks now means that some does won’t get bred in the first estrus cycle the following fall. If there aren’t enough bucks to go around, some does won’t get bred in the second estrus cycle either. It’s possible that some does might not be getting bred at all! The few bucks that are breeding all these does are worn down by this extended rutting period to the point that they might not have the fat reserves left to make it through a Maine winter.

I recently heard that a buck was seen mounting a doe in February in Aroostook County where deer were being fed this past winter. If this is true, and this doe conceived in February, any fawns born to her in August surely won’t make it through the next winter. Even lambs conceived in the second estrus cycle will have the cards stacked against them going into their first winter. They will not have the same higher body weights as fawns that were conceived in November.

What can Maine do to remedy the age structure imbalance of bucks in the deer herd?

Limit the harvest of antlered deer to those with racks sporting a minimum of 3 points on one side. (Nearly all 2-1/2 year-old bucks will carry antlers during the hunting season that will meet this criterion.) Allow exception to the regulation via any-deer permits that will allow the harvest of spike or fork-horned bucks as well as does. Alternatively create an “any-buck” permit to augment the any-deer permit management system.

Antler Restrictions, used as a management tool, would be effective in improving both the age-structure (for bucks) and the sex ratio of the Maine deer herd. These two elements are essential to rebuilding the herd. By restricting the harvest of 1-1/2 year-old bucks, we can recruit deer to the 2-1/2 year-old stage. A larger population of 2-1/2 year-olds will on its own reduce winter kill numbers and breeding issues. Once 2-1/2 years-old, a Maine buck is more likely to survive hunting pressure and severe winters. The gravy for Maine deer hunters will be an increase in the numbers of trophy deer available as more 2-1/2 year-olds will lead to more 3-1/2 year-olds, 4-1/2 year-olds, etc...

It’s that simple.

Antler restrictions are not without opponents in Maine.

One oft heard argument is that the antler restriction proposal is elitist and promotes trophy hunting, which is a hot button topic exploited by anti hunting advocates. The truth is that the proposal is good management policy that will benefit all deer hunters and deer lovers alike by stabilizing a more balanced herd.

Nowhere within the Maine Department of Inland Fish and Wildlife’s “Maine’s Game Plan for Deer” is there mention of sex or age imbalances in the deer herd. Nowhere is there mention of antler restrictions as a management tool to improve the herd. Why?

The basic argument against AR is that it simply won’t work in Maine. Forget that it’s been well received and is yielding fantastic results in States like Pennsylvania, “AR will never be accepted by hunters in Maine”.

The dense Maine forest will no doubt make it difficult for hunters to identify 3 points on one side before taking aim at the buck they just jumped up out of a cedar swamp. But if you’re a hunter in a shooting scenario like that, you’d best have a doe permit in your pocket to begin with as antlers can be hard to see at all on a running deer. So why not manage AR via the any-deer permit system already in place? Why not create an any-buck permit for those Wildlife Management Districts (WMD) where doe hunting is not allowed?

Antler restrictions can and will work in Maine!

Most Maine deer hunters will embrace AR once they understand the management goals and benefits. A broader awareness of the AR concept is underway, but it needs further exposure to generate the ground swell of enthusiasm that this strategy will need to be implemented… or perhaps even considered by IF&W.

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
View attachment 1646019

This is why point restrictions don't work. 1.5 year old deer. Shot in Maine by someone that was desperate to fill his tag last year :(
He was way out of bow range but the gun took him out of the population forever. Yeah... great method of building a solid herd right there!! ;)
As was said... If there were no Buck only tags this fellow would have walked most likely. This is a very small Buck by Maine standards, as a mature Doe would be bigger than this deer.

990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·

Here is what goes on in Maine. The PDF is from the Maine wildlife Agency that oversees the management of the deer herds. LOL!
I have never (in my life) seen such a bunch of nothing. Talk of proposals and suggestions that go on forever and say nothing. It's like listening to Joe Bidden speaking at the end of a three day kegger!.
This is what passes for management in Maine!. It's a wonder there is any deer there at all! ;)

I would be embarrassed to have my name attached to any of this. I guess Mainers aren't reading anymore, than they are active on the Internet. How else can you explain how anyone would put this stuff out there for public consumption?. Obviously these people know that nobody is going to read it or at least the ones that do will be so totally bored to death (waiting to get to anything of substance) that they will just hang themselves before reaching the end of it all ;)

Below is about all there was as a summary. As you will note, there is acknowledgement as to the devastation of the lumbering but the cure is suggestive (as always) and unfortunately... these guys don't make the rules. The governor (as always) will over rule and suggest that this committee come up with something else.... which they will. Again.
This report (as always) shows that they know but nothing will be done. This is the same report that was written 13 years ago in essence.

Deer Population
During periods (e.g., pre 1970) when a greater proportion of Maine forests consisted
of mature spruce and fir and hemlock, eastern and northern Maine deer populations exceeded 20
deer per sq. mi., and they occupied at least10 to 12% of the land base during winter.
Mature softwood forest that is suitable for sheltering deer during winter currently is in
short supply. Less than 5% of the land base is currently wintering deer, and some of that is in
poor silvicultural condition. For many timber companies, some of the most marketable softwood
timber in their inventories exists in traditional deer wintering areas. This creates tremendous
pressure on these companies to conduct timber harvests in deer yards. Timber management in
regulated deer yards is costly. It often requires special restrictions on the type and amount of
timber to be cut, small acreages, frequent entry to harvest timber, and limited time to accomplish
the work (winter harvests). Given the above, we understand why timber companies are reluctant
to commit to managing a larger proportion of their ownership as deer wintering habitat. Society
gains the benefit of higher deer populations, while private landowners bear most of the costs.
Yet, the Dept will not achieve its deer objectives unless wintering habitat is restored to 8 or 9%
of the land base.
Forests that were cut in the 1970s and 1980s will soon be attaining size and type
conditions that will again shelter deer. Forest planners predict that a large amount of previously
cut forest acreage in eastern and northern Maine will transition to the pole-stage spruce, fir and
hemlock stands that shelter deer in winter. This transition in forest age is the natural result of
regrowth, and it will take place within a decade. As the stock of maturing softwood timber
increases, there may be less conflict between the need to sell timber vs. the need to delay timber
harvests in deer wintering areas, for many timberland owners. When inventories of softwood
timber are higher, timberland owners may be more likely to find harvestable acreage outside of
deer wintering areas, than is currently the case. In the interim, the DIFW would be wise to
develop strategies designed to mitigate the high costs of deer yard management for private
landowners. DIFW should also ensure that our existing deer wintering areas are protected and
not lost during the next decade.
It would be tempting for DIFW to abandon its deer population objectives and to settle for
less, as some have suggested. We urge the Dept. to stay the course and to continue to work to
increase deer wintering habitat over time, as opportunities arise. However, should the Dept.
choose to convene a species planning group to integrate the separate population and habitat goals
for deer, moose, bear, marten and lynx, as recommended by the Deer Task Force, the Dept. must
broaden the stakeholder list to include all pertinent stakeholders (including SAM), not just
timberland owners.

31 Posts
Well I def. do not appreciate you sayin ALL mainers are like this. Yes we know the hunting sucks yes some of us know how ****ty our management is. Someday I hope to change that. I am only 21yrs old and have gone out of my way lately to learn more and more about management and what not. I love to hunt and I have to most respect for our land and the animals. I am a Passamaquoddy and have grown up on a reservation all my life. Our hunting here on our land is probably 10x better than most places in maine. Logging is very limited selective cutting only, no clear cuts, and based around our deer herd. We can shoot does in October and starting nov.1st it's bucks only. Not sure if this helps but would love to know more.
Surrounding land 'state land' really sucks hunting. They all say they come to the 'Indians land'. Which doesn't surprise because everything else is wiped out from the logging company's. we have lots of deer and some very nice trophies! Hunting was kinda ****ty in late 90's but has gotten better since. I feel we do very well in managing our land and it just keeps getting better every year. I think there are a few things we could do to help like limiting the number of does killed and a shorter rifle sseason.
I wish I had the knowledge you did about managing deer herds but I will someday mark my words. I would rlly like the rest of the state to be awesome hunting also and would like to make a difference in this someday. So yes I am calling your BULLCRAP on stereotyping all mainers. Would love to really learn more about what you would think would be a good game plan on how to help us. I do feel a lot of the same things you do about this place but I am one to want to change it and not run from it. No hard feelings but would rally appreciate some help.
I am joining the military and will be leaving in a few weeks to some good hunting grounds finally! Lol but will be coming back and this topic is number one on the to do list!
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