These whitetail does check out a nearby hunting party in northeast Somerset County during the moose hunt in October 2017. The 84,745 permits awarded this year will be the most since Maine implemented the any-deer permit system in 1986. Credit: Pete Warner | BDN

Hunters who want to be able to target deer that aren’t sporting antlers this fall can take an essential first step: The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has opened online registration for the any-deer permit lottery.

The good news for hunters: This may well be your lucky year. The state will issue 84,745 of the permits this year, which is an all-time high.

The top Wildlife Management Districts for any-deer permits: WMD 23 (12,375 permits to be allotted), WMD 22, (11,000 permits), WMD 21 (10,500 permits) and WMD 17 (10,000 permits).

Entry into the lottery is free, and the application can be found here.

Applications must be filled out by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 15. The drawing will be held Sept. 7.

The DIF&W uses any deer permits to help manage the state’s deer population. Biologists use the system to increase or decrease the number of breeding female deer in certain areas.

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John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. He spent 28 years working for the BDN, including 19 years as the paper's outdoors columnist or outdoors editor. While...