Maine residents can apply online for any-deer permits until Aug. 17. Credit: Courtesy of Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Back in May, the state’s wildlife biologists proposed a 61.2 percent increase in the number of any-deer permits allotted this year ― a record number of permits, 109,990, for this season.

In real numbers, that’s an increase of 41,745 from the 68,145 permits handed out in 2019, and more than 25,000 more any-deer permits than have ever been issued under the system in Maine in a single year.

But on Wednesday, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Advisory Council went even higher. The board voted 6-0 to add 100 permits to the 109,990 proposed in May as state wildlife officials work to better manage the state’s deer population, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The boost in permits is needed to reach the state’s doe-harvest goal of 13,000 to reduce the state’s white-tailed deer population of nearly 300,000. Some hunting districts in southern and central Maine will get as many as 13,000 to 17,000 permits. Last year’s hunt missed the department’s doe-harvest goal of 7,966, and hunters only took 6,200 does, the Press Herald reported.

Typically, Maine hunters shoot between 20,000 and 35,000 deer per year. Does are often targeted during the October archery season and during expanded archery seasons in more urban areas that are designed to reduce the deer herd in places where the use of firearms is not safe. Come firearms season, however, those who want to shoot a non-antlered deer must have an any-deer permit.

Nathan Bieber, the DIF&W’s deer biologist, said that after a mild winter that favored deer survival, and several years of the state’s hunters not removing enough does from the landscape, the decision was made to propose the increases.

The any-deer permits, which allow hunters to harvest deer of either sex, will be up for acquisition as part of a drawing that hunters can apply to be part of. Permit applications must be completed by Monday for the drawing that will be held on Sept. 11.