If you’re hoping to score a coveted any-deer permit for this year’s hunting season, you’ll have less of a chance than you did a year ago: The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has announced that just 37,185 of the permits will be up for grabs in the free lottery that closes on Aug. 15.
Just a year ago, the state allotted 46,710 permits to hunters.
“In the fall of 2013 we saw an increase in the number of successful hunters for the third straight season, a sign that the deer her is rebounding from the back-to-back severe winters in 2008 and 2009,” DIF&W commissioner Chandler Woodcock said in a press release. “While the deer population has made gains since 2009, this past year’s long, cold winter dictates that we move cautiously with the number of any-deer permits we issue.
While the reduction of 9,525 permits may sound alarming, it’s certainly not without precedent: The DIF&W annually tinkers with permit levels in an effort to reach management goals and respond to recent winter weather conditions.
The number of any-deer permits issued over the past five years (including those for the 2014 lottery):
According to the news release, the DIF&W uses the any-deer permit system to control the harvest of female deer in each of the state’s 29 wildlife management districts. This year, any-deer permits will be allotted in just 12 of those 29 WMDs.
This year’s lottery will take place on Sept. 9.
The department will accept paper applications postmarked by July 25. Online applications will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 15.