Maine Deer Harvest Highlights 2011
2011 marked the 26th season of the any-deer permit system. A total of 26,390 any-deer permits were
allocated to 12 WMDs, including 232 Superpack (bonus) any-deer permits issued in WMD 20 and 21 to
achieve district specific doe harvest quotas. Of the permits available, 6,599 were issued to qualifying
landowners in an early, separate lottery. Any-deer permits are WMD and hunter specific; they may be
used during the regular firearms (October 29th-November 26th) and muzzleloader (November 28th -
December 10 th) seasons. Superpack licenses were allocated to 2.5 % of the any-deer permits in wildlife
districts with 3,500 or more permits as “Bonus Deer” permits. This allowed Superpack license holders to
take two deer, one of which must be antlerless.
Although antlered bucks (3” minimum antler length) were legal quarry for all hunters during all deer
seasons, only hunters who possessed a valid any-deer or bonus permit license could legally take a doe
or a fawn during these firearms seasons. Sundays were closed to all hunting and the opening Saturday
of the regular firearms season was reserved for Maine residents only.
Our expanded archery season targets locations in which deer populations are under-harvested primarily
due to firearms discharge bans and residential sprawl. The expanded archery season had no limit on
antlerless deer (either-sex) and ran for 79 hunting days (Sept. 10 th to Dec. 10 th); the statewide (Special)
archery season from September 29th to October 28th.
Overall 18,839 deer were registered during 2011. During the expanded and special archery seasons
1,928 were taken. This equates to a 29% decrease in archery hunting from 2010; the Youth Day harvest
of 537 increased from 2010 by 21% considering the prohibitions on taking antlerless deer in bucks only
WMDs, Youth hunters achieved a significant increase in success. This rule change for Youth hunters
occurred in WMDs that were most recently affected by 2 difficult winters. The regular firearms season’s
overall harvest of 15,467 was a 9% decrease from the previous year. This decrease was entirely seen in
the antlerless harvest and reduction of Any Deer Permits to provide maximum growth to deer populations
across south-central WMDs. For the fifth year a special license allowed crossbow hunting during the
regular firearms season with a harvest of 30 deer. Finally muzzleloaders experienced fair success with a
decrease of 23%, taking 822 deer with muzzleloader; again the decrease largely due to the limited
number of Any Deer permits and reduced antlerless harvest.
A harvest quota of 2,961 adult does was set in 2011 to meet deer management objectives in Maine’s 29
WMDs. These quotas included anticipated harvests resulting from the either-sex archery and youth-day
seasons. Doe quotas ranged from 0 in 17 WMDs (districts 1-12, 14, 18, 19, 27, and 28), to 630 does in
WMD 21; Any-Deer and Superpack permittees tagged 1,430 fawns, while archers and youth day hunters
tagged 534 young of the year. Overall, 5,986 antlerless deer were registered by hunters and the
statewide adult doe harvest totaled 4,017. Excluding WMD 29, the adult doe harvest was 28% above
pre-season set quotas.
The statewide harvest of antlered bucks (12,862) in 2011 was within 5% of our projected buck harvest.
The top 5 buck-producing WMDs (per sq. mi.) during 2011 were (in descending order) districts 29, 21, 24,
20 and 22, all in southern Maine. Among the 12,862 antlered bucks taken in 2011, roughly 6,945 (54%)
were 1 ˝ year-olds (yearlings), while more than 2,701 (21%) were mature bucks (3 ˝ to 15 ˝ years old).
Male fawns are reported with antlerless deer.