Let’s call this Deer Day. The legislature’s IFW Committee has scheduled hearings on 8 deer bills for 1 pm, March 2, in Room 206 in the Cross Building next to the Capitol.
The Committee has already killed one deer bill which would have allowed senior hunters to shoot does anytime during the hunting season without an any-deer permit. Judy Camuso, IFW’s Wildlife Division Director, told the committee that the bill “will significantly reduce opportunity for others.”
That was an understatement. In 2016 there were 36,000 senior hunters. Only 8,059 applied for an any-deer permit and 3,927 got one. 67.5 percent of the any-deer permits already go to specific groups including landowners and youths, leaving less than 1/3 for all other deer hunters.
March 2 Lineup
Here are the bills scheduled for hearings on March 2.
LD 62, sponsored by Representative Peter Lyford of Eddington, An Act to Remove the Prohibition on Baiting Deer.
LD 279, sponsored by Representative Simmons of Waldoboro, An Act to Give Veterans Priority in the Issuance of Antlerless Deer Permits.
LD 325, sponsored by Representative Riley of Jay, An Act to Amend the Process of Distributing Any-deer permits. Among its provisions, this bill would establish a point system for those who don’t get a permit in the lottery and give any-deer permits to all veterans who want one.
LD 340, sponsored by Representative Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, An Act to Provide 100 Percent Disabled Veterans Antlerless Deer Permits in the Zone of Their Choice.
LD 341, sponsored by Representative Wadsworth of Hiram, An Act to Promote Deer Hunting. This bill limits deer hunters to harvesting bucks with 3 or more tines of one inch or longer along the main beam of either or both antlers.
LD 427, sponsored by Representative Pickett of Dixfield, An Act to Give Certain Landowners First Priority for Antlerless Deer Permits. This bill requires all any-deer permits available in a WMD go to landowners who own at least 50 acres that are open to the public, and if those permits exceed the number of landowners who want them, the rest go to junior hunters. If that doesn’t use up all of the permits, the rest of Maine’s deer hunters would have a chance to win one.
LD 509, sponsored by Senator Paul Davis of Piscataquis County, An Act to Allocate at Least 10 percent of Antlerless Deer Permits Available in Each Wildlife Management District to Hunters 70 Years of Age and Older.
LD 555, sponsored by Representative Foley of Wells, An Act to Allow Owners of 25 Acres of More of Land That Is Open to the Public for Hunting To Take Any Deer Without a Special Permit.
Should be an interesting afternoon at the legislature! I’ll be there in my “deer stand.”