October 28 Marks Beginning Of Firearms Deer SeasonOctober 27, 2006 - TRCAUGUSTA, Maine -- As deer hunters ready for opening day, hunters will find the most deer in the southern and central areas of the state, but some of the biggest deer in Western, Northern and Eastern Maine. The regular firearm season for deer opens on Saturday, October 28 for residents, and Monday, October 30 for nonresidents. The Firearms Season for deer concludes on Saturday, November 25.“Deer season is a tradition rooted deep within the state,” said Roland D. Martin, Commissioner, Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, “It is a heritage that is passed on generation to generation.”Department biologists believe that if normal hunting pressure and weather prevail, this year’s deer harvest should be in the range of 29,400, a little higher than last year’s total of 28,148. The total deer kill for each of the past ten deer seasons is as follows: 2005 – 28,148 , 2004 – 30,926; 2003 – 30,313; 2002 -- 38,153; 2001 -- 27,769; 2000 – 36,885; 1999 – 31,473; 1998 – 28,241; 1997 – 31,152; 1996 – 28,375; 1995 – 27,384; 1994 – 24,683.This year, the department issued 67,725 Any Deer permits. An Any Deer permit allows a hunter to harvest a deer of either sex. By controlling the number of female deer in a population, the department can manage deer population trends. Any Deer permits are issued through a lottery system. The number of Any Deer Permits and where they are issued reflect publicly derived long-term population management goals that were implemented back in 2001. In central and southern Maine, the department maintaining or reducing deer numbers, while in Northern and Downeast Maine, the department is trying to rebuild deer populations. Maine’s wintering deer population last winter was estimated to be approximately 245,000.The archery season for deer is currently ongoing, having started on September 28. In certain suburban areas of the state where high population densities of deer are common, an expanded archery season began on September 9, and will continue until December 9.The Any Deer permit system was designed to reverse a statewide decline in the deer herd that began in the late 1950’s. Since 1986, the herd has grown from 160,000 to the present total of just under 250,000. Population growth rates have been monitored in each of the 29 wildlife management districts within the state, and targeted harvest totals have been set accordingly to coincide with population objectives in each individual district.Make Sure Your Deer Hunt Is A Safe Hunt :Be sure that someone knows where you are headed, and when you plan to return. Carry emergency survival gear, a flashlight, map and compass, matches and water. Stop periodically to eat and re-hydrate yourself. Wear two pieces of hunter orange that are in good condition. Be sure of your target, and what is beyond it. Always keep the muzzle of your firearm pointed in a safe direction. Unload your firearm before entering a dwelling, before entering a vehicle, or before storing it.Department Seeks Information From HuntersThe department has mailed deer hunter effort surveys to a number of deer hunters. If you have received one, please fill it out, and mail it back after you are finished hunting deer this year. The survey will ask you to record the number of days you hunt this fall as well as additional information on how many deer and moose you see this year. Then return the survey to the department in December.This information that is received is vital towards our management programs. It will enable us to better estimate deer numbers and determine deer and moose population trends. Hunting In Maine Is Big BusinessOver 200,000 people hunt in Maine each year, and those hunters generate nearly a half a billion dollars ($453.9 million) in economic activity in Maine. According to a 1998 Economic Impact Study completed by the Department of Resource Economics and Policy at the University of Maine in Orono, hunting in Maine generates $329.9 million in direct retail sales, the total househould income generated from hunting is $129.9 million and it supports 6,440 jobs statewide. The overall economic output of $453.9 million, including $27.4 million in state sales and income tax revenue.Submitted by Mark Latti, DIFWNOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.