AUGUSTA – Hunting seasons are under way in Maine, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wants hunters to be aware of rules and agency initiatives in order to have a safe season.
Deer hunting season starts on Oct. 31 for Maine residents with valid hunting licenses and permits, and on Nov. 2 for all hunters.
Hunters should read and carry with them their appropriate law books. The law books are available at any of the department’s 840 licensing agents statewide and at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife offices. For more information, call 287-6000.
The department issued 45,385 permits this year to residents, non-residents, landowners and Superpack holders.
An additional 755 permits were issued to Superpack holders who were inadvertently removed from the lottery drawing after the initial selection. Those permit holders have been notified.
The department no longer mails any-seer permits to permit winners. Instead, permit winners need to record their permit number and report the permit number to the registration station when tagging their deer.
The department suggests that permit winners write down their permit number and keep the number with their hunting license so it is readily available when needed at the registration station.
Hunters can find their any-deer permit number by visiting the Web site deer.informe.org.
New Registration Fees
A $5 registration fee will be collected at tagging stations during the hunting season. The fee, which was approved by the Maine Legislature, aids in the collection and processing of registration and biological information regarding big game.
Tagging stations receive $1 to collect information and the department receives $4 to support the costs associated with inputting, processing and analyzing the collected data.
“This fee is critical to the management of all big game species in Maine,” said Lee Kantar, department deer and moose biologist. “Without this fee increase, we would be in an extremely difficult situation as to how we currently register big game species and collect critical information about these species that guide our management decisions.”
Any-Deer Permit Swap Available
An any-deer, landowner or Superpack deer permit winner may swap their permit with another same-type permit winner in order to switch hunting districts.
The permits must be the same type, and residents can swap only with residents and non-residents can swap only with non-residents.
The department does not maintain a list of individuals wishing to swap permits. Permit winners who wish to swap will need to locate and contact other permit winners on their own.
One sportsman, Jeff W. Zimba, is maintaining a non-IF&W-affiliated swap site, DoeTagSwap.com.
For a small fee, permit winners can locate and potentially swap with other same-type permit winners. However, the department still needs to be notified of the swap, and the proper paperwork still must be completed.
The site also allows permit winners to download for free and print a business card-sized any deer permit/transportation tag on their home computer.
The department is not mailing any-deer permits this year, and winners are responsible for bringing their permit number to the registration station.
The permit swap fee is $7 (one fee covers both winners). The swap can be done in person at the department’s main office in Augusta or by mail with the required “swap request form” that’s available on the IF&W web site.
The department will assign a new permit number and mail back the form.
The swap can be done online until 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 30. Mail-in requests must be received by Oct. 30. Please allow at least one week for processing. Visit www4.informe.org/ifw/nedeer/netransfer.html to complete your swap.
The department offers the following safety tips:
• Be sure that someone knows where you are headed, and when you plan to return. Leave a map and itinerary.
• If carrying a cell phone, be sure the batteries are charged and bring a spare.
• Carry emergency survival gear, a flashlight, extra batteries, map and compass, matches, water and snacks.
• 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.
Hunting Is Big Business
Approximately 204,000 people hunt in Maine each year, and those hunters generate more than $241 million in economic activity in Maine. Approximately 83 percent of the hunters are Maine residents.
Each hunter spends an average of $1,359 in equipment, licenses, memberships and trip-related expenses, and spends approximately 13 days engaging in the sport, according to the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, the most recent information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.