Two years after issuing a record number of any-deer permits, the state lottery next month will award a new all-time high of 109,990. Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s Advisory Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a record number of any-deer permits in an effort to cull the state’s growing deer population.

State biologists recommended increasing by 100 the 109,890 they proposed in May, making the 109,990 approved by the council’s 9-0 vote the first time the permits have topped 90,000.

State biologists say the hefty 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 total allotment is a 61 percent increase over the 68,145 issued last fall, and 30 percent higher than the previous record of 84,745 issued in 2018.

Biologists added 25 additional permits in both Wildlife Management Districts 2 and 3 at the very northern tip of Maine, and an additional 50 in Wildlife Management District 6, which is north of Houlton and south of Caribou.

Maine Wildlife Division Director Nathan Webb said the minor adjustments were “based on feedback from northern Maine” on deer densities there.

Permit applications must be completed by Monday for the drawing that will be held Sept. 11.

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