November 3, 2013

New Maine deer biologist winning over a tough crowd

In his role managing Maine’s whitetail herd, Kyle Ravana has to know how to handle sportsmen as well as deer.

By Deirdre Fleming
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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Kyle Ravana, left, Maine’s new head deer biologist, talks with hunter Floyd Whitmore at a moose tagging station in Solon last month. In his first seven months on the job Ravana is proving a good listener.

Photos by John Patriquin/StaffPhotographer

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Kyle Ravana wants to manage “for the health of the deer, rather than how many there are per square mile.”

Still, the department estimates there are only a few deer per square mile in northern Maine.

“To sportsmen, the whitetail deer is an iconic animal,” said David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. “When you think of Maine hunting, you think of whitetail deer as the big-trophy animal. It’s been a part of the economy and has been the foundation of hunting in Maine for 70 years.”

There are roughly 175,000 active deer hunters out of 200,000 license holders, according to the state.

Jakubus said officials at the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife had no reservations about Ravana.

“We felt he could do the job, and do it well,” Jakubus said. “Kyle is a good communicator. I also think he’s very bright, he picks things up quickly. And he is an extremely hard worker. We want to try to help him be as successful as possible.”

Matula describes deer management in Maine as a pie that has only so many pieces, and everyone wants a piece of that pie. Whether hunters favor a youth hunt, bow hunt, muzzle-loader hunt or the regular firearm hunt, everyone wants a piece.

“If you want a slice for something else, it has to come out of somewhere in that pie. And there’s the rub,” Matula said.

But he said deer management is not an exact science, even though sportsmen want specific results.

And like almost everything, it comes down to money.

“In recent years we’ve realized there are some weaknesses. Sometimes, you do the best you can with the money you have. The question is, is there a better way to do it? But sometimes it takes research to find that out, and a lot of times those are the first dollars to get cut,” Matula said.

Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

Twitter: FlemingPph

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