Hunters in Maine killed nearly 25,000 deer in 2013, a 15 percent increase from 2012. It marks the third consecutive year in which the deer harvest has increased.

According to numbers released Friday by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the deer kill for 2013 reached 24,795 and increased in almost every Wildlife Management District in the state. Hunters killed 21,552 deer in 2012.

Chandler Woodcock, the IFW commissioner, said in a statement the increase was reflective of a growing deer population statewide the last four years.

“However,” he said, “with the long, cold winter we experienced (this year), it is prudent that we move forward thoughtfully in 2014 concerning the number of any-deer permits issued.”

Because of this year’s severe winter, state biologists have sought a decrease in the number of deer permits, by perhaps as much as 10,000, for 2014.

Last year, the IFW issued 46,710 any-deer permits, a 36 percent increase from 2012 because the deer population had grown steadily following severe winters in 2008 and 2009. That resulted in kill increases throughout the state.

The adult buck harvest increased over 2012, with hunters taking 16,756 in November, an 8 percent increase over the 2012 kill of 15,475. There was a 24 percent increase in the doe harvest, with hunters killing 5,307 as opposed to 4,287 in 2012. There were 2,727 fawns killed in 2013, up from 1,816 in 2012.

Maine’s youth hunters killed 781 deer in 2013, an increase of 37 percent from 570 deer in 2012. That included 335 bucks, 280 does and 166 fawns. Youths were allowed to harvest antler-less deer without an any-deer permit in any Wildlife Management District where permits were issued.

While the number of deer permits for 2014 has not been announced, IFW spokesman Mark Latti said it is normal to expect fewer following a severe winter.

“We’re at the northern edge of the whitetail deer range and our population is affected by weather,” he said. “We do suffer winter loss after a winter like we had.

“Most people understand that. And we regulate (that loss) through our any-deer system. It allows us to keep the greatest number of breeding females in the population and jumpstarts the population the next year.’’

Mike Lowe can be reached at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

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