If you’re one of those hunters who’s a forgetful sort — the kind of person who sometimes wakes up the morning after the state closes the any-deer permit lottery, for instance, and realizes you didn’t apply … again — I’m happy to share some great news with you.
You’re not too late.
Yes, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife set a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Wednesday night for entry into the free lottery. Yes, somehow, you missed out on the lottery … again.
And yes, I’m telling you not to fret. Everything will be just fine. Trust me.
DIF&W spokesman Mark Latti explained Thursday that in the final hours before Wednesday’s deadline, the state’s online registration system for the lottery began to bog down.
“People were able to apply through the night, but it became clear at about 6 o’clock [that we had a problem],” Latti said. “We started getting emails from people who were having trouble accessing the online application.”
Latti said the system didn’t entirely fail, but the process slowed down significantly. Some people were able to apply for the any-deer lottery, but others weren’t. And he said those trying to enter the lottery would have been aware whether their efforts were successful or not.
In order to give people another chance to enter, the DIF&W has decided to extend the deadline. Hunters now have until 5 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 20, to enter the free lottery that allows winners to target deer that do not have antlers during this fall’s hunting season.
As of 9:30 a.m., Latti said the department was working to solve the problem.
“We’re working to make sure that we now what caused it to be unable to handle the number of applications that were coming in,” he said.
At 1:30 p.m.Thursday, Latti reached out to say the online registration system was back up and running.
Latti said the DIF&W would reach out to potential applicants to let them know they could still enter.
“Once [the system] is running, we’ll send an email to every permit holder who applied last year, letting them know that it’s up and running and they can apply if they haven’t done so or if they got shut out last night,” Latti said.
This year the state has proposed to allot an all-time high number of any-deer permits — 84,745. That number will be finalized by the commissioner’s advisory council on Aug. 23 and the drawing will be held on Sept. 7.
Maine deer hunters harvested 27,233 deer in 2017, a 15 percent increase over the previous year.
The deer harvest totals for the previous decade: 2016: 23,512; 2015: 20,325; 2014: 22,490; 2013: 24,217; 2012: 21,365; 2011: 18,365; 2010: 20,063; 2009: 18,092; 2008: 21,062; 2007: 28,885.
Those interested in entering the lottery can do so at mefishwildlife.com.
Veazie Salmon Club open house
If you’re looking to spend a few hours with some outdoors-loving folks, you might want to stop by the Veazie Salmon Club on Saturday for an open house.
The event will run from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and free refreshments — donuts, baked beans, hot dogs, burgers and soft drinks — will be served all day long.
Members will be on hand to talk about the club’s history, and the rich tradition of Atlantic salmon fishing on the Penobscot River. They’ll also be happy to teach you how to tie a fly or learn how to use a fly rod.
Individual and family memberships are available, and donations to the club will be welcome.
John Holyoke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 990-8214. Follow him on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke