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healthy deer herd
healthy deer herd

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Monitoring Maine’s deer

You could ask any deer hunter how the herd is in their area and get a different answer every time.  We all want the best habitat, doe to buck ratio and a very limited number of predators in our area. What I didn’t know, is that like moose here in Maine, we have deer that are collared and monitored in order to help biologists understand the true health of the deer herd. I sat down with Maine’s deer biologist Kyle Ravana to ask him about the collaring program and what he (and IFW) hope to learn from it.    Where are the deer that are being collared? And why those WMDs? Right now, we have deer collared in WMD 17 and 6 and want to expand into either WMD 8 or 1.  17 is good because there is usually a good mix of snow...

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Really! Stop feeding the deer

It's that time of year when deer are yarded up and surviving the harsh winter weather.  I've been fortunate enough to see lots of healthy looking deer while walking through the woods.  In talking with friends about the deer herd in their area, they have mentioned that they want to start feeding the deer to help them make it through the winter.  I quickly respond with NO! Don't feed the deer! It is fun to see deer come out of the woods and munch on grain or corn, but what a lot of people don't realize is that feeding deer these foods during the winter months could have dire consequences and could actually kill the deer that they are trying to help.  Here are the primary reason why you should not feed deer during the winter: Biological...

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Stop feeding deer in Maine

Trail camera pictures

Still no bucks on the trail camera but the does and fawns are still around and looking very healthy!  The coyote is still around and the deer tracks in the muddy areas are proving that there are some big deer around.    

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Welcome back friends

I convinced Dad to put the trail camera back out at the Sky Condo to see what deer are around and made it through the winter... and it was like seeing old friends. Five healthy looking deer! Last year's fawns look good as yearlings If you zoom in, you can see antlers beginning.  This is one of those 8-pointers! It is always great to see the healthy does and in some shots, one looks like she could be pregnant but what I loved was the picture above that shows antlers beginning.  Looking at his body size and shape, I do believe that this is the smaller of the two 8-pointers.  We are keeping these cameras rolling, but in the three days that we had it out, we had almost 450 picture of the deer as they walk through and eat at...

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New Season, New Challenges

I was so worried about my son waking up in the middle of the night and subsequently waking up my parents, that I barely slept. This was our first overnight and every little whimper had me ready to jump out of bed and make him a bottle. When I got up at 4:30 it seemed as though I had just gone to bed. But it was opening day and there were deer to find! Dad and I had looked over the memory cards from our cameras the night before. Dad asked me to keep track of how many bucks I saw in the photos. One spike, one crotch horn, another spike, a small six (maybe) pointer, two more crotch horns, a NICE, wide six-pointer and a bunch of does. More does. The same does. Turkeys. Grass. Grass. A coyote (boo!) and then... a perfect, beautiful, thick...

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Maine’s Deer Herd in 2013

I recently sat down with Kyle Ravana, the state’s deer biologist, to talk about what his goals are for the deer herd, what challenges he sees ahead and he answers the question: “Would you rather have a warm winter that is easy on deer or a harsh winter that kills off a lot of deer ticks?” Maine Biologist, Kyle Ravana You took over this position in February. What are your goals for your first year on the job? I really want to get familiar with the job, the materials that we have and the current deer data. I’m diving into the management systems that we have and looking at what our strengths and weaknesses are. I have been researching how other states work with their deer herds and what works or doesn’t work for them in terms of...

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Celebrating Outdoor Dads for Father’s Day

Dads play an important role in getting the next generation of hunters interested and out in the woods.  It takes almost as much skill to get the kids out there as it does to make that shot and harvest an animal.  There is the concern over getting cold, keeping their attention and talking about what it means to kill (and then eat) an animal. In honor of Father's Day and all of the great outdoor Dads,  I thought that it would be perfect to hear how Bryan includes his sons with his hunting and the excitement they had this past deer season when the boys were with Bryan as he shot his first buck. I have interviewed Bryan before about hunting, fishing and getting his kids involved from an early age but his dedication and his...

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Hunter’s patience pays off with increase in permits

A few weeks ago, I sat down with the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Chandler Woodcock to talk about the increase in moose and doe permits across the State and what it means for sportswomen (and men) this upcoming hunting season.  Q: The number of moose permits has been released for 2013 and they have increased since last year (from 3,725 to 4155).  What's changed? A: Our biologist, Lee Kantar has been working tirelessly to get an accurate moose count.  He has gone up in a helicopter and used some new technology to get accurate numbers of moose around Maine.  The majority of the increases will be seen north of Bangor and we looked at each WMD individually to make sure we are carefully monitoring the...

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Spot a fawn? Leave it alone!

Spring is a great time to have a baby (I think).  You get the summer off to enjoy the new baby, it’s getting warmer and the farmer’s markets come back.  But, I am not the only one who is planning to deliver in the next few weeks; many of Maine’s white-tailed does will be joining me in adding to the population. Does will typically give birth in fields and along the tree line where they are comfortable and not in too much stress.   As we get out and about more to enjoy the changing seasons, it is vital that we stay away from does that may seem like they are in trouble (they could be pacing or have their tail up) because they are getting ready to fawn and do not need the added stress.  The bulk of the fawning will...

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