MAINE

Deer Forecast 2004 -- EAST

Outdoor Life Online Editor

Maine's 2003 harvest was 30,313, down nearly 8,000 from the year before, primarily due to windy, rainy and warm weather during November. Because of the lower harvest and excellent winter survival, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife deer biologist Gerry Lavigne thinks the herd, estimated at 274,000 in 2003, will be slightly larger this year. According to Lavigne, the DIFW is looking to increase the total harvest. The goal is about 36,000 deer. To achieve this, the DIFW will be issuing almost 5,000 more "any-deer" permits than it did last year.

The highest whitetail densities are found in the southern coastal area, where getting land access can be tough. But if you're looking for a mix of decent deer numbers, good access and a solid chance at a trophy, check out the south-central part of the state-Wildlife Management Districts 16, 17, 22, 23 and 26. The whitetail density in that area is between 20 and 25 per square mile. Lavigne says this region now produces the greatest number of mature bucks.