Time to Apply – Piscataquis Observer

By V. Paul Reynolds Yes, I know there’s a perfectly good legal reason not to call females antlers and males are, but old habits die hard.

By V. Paul Reynolds

Yes, I know there’s a perfectly good legal reason for calling females antlerless and males antlered, but my old school tendencies are hard to shake. To me, they’re still females and males, and always will be until my dying breath. Males and females is a lot easier to say and spell than “antlerless and antlered deer.”

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has officially opened the application period for your annual doe hunting permit, oops, antlerless deer permit.

Applicants have until midnight on August 1 to apply for their do permits. The lottery drawing for the issued permits will take place on August 15. As has been the case for several years, applications can only be submitted online at the MDIF&W website:

This year, approximately 128,000 permits will be issued, an increase of nearly 20,000 over last year. As usual, the Southern and Coastal Wildlife Management Districts (WMDs) will receive a higher percentage of antlerless deer permits than the rest of the state. No permits will be issued in the WMDs in northwestern Maine.

In 2022, the first year of the two-deer option (you could shoot either a male or female if you had a female permit), there was a record kill of 43,787 deer. This compares to a lower deer kill of 38,215 last fall. This two-deer option is a great opportunity for the dedicated deer hunter, as it means you can shoot a female for the freezer in the issued WMD, say in Rockland, and then later hunt males in the big woods of Piscataquis County, for example.

Hunters with bow and arrow, and this year also crossbow hunters, are allowed to shoot a deer in most WMDs without a special permit for a deer. They are also not allowed to shoot an additional bow buck unless they have a permit for a deer.

Hunters who receive an antlerless deer hunting permit through the lottery must apply for their permit online and purchase it for $12, plus a $2 brokerage fee.

If history is any indication, not all of the DIY permits will be applied for in some of the deer-rich WMDS in southern Maine. When those permits run out, the state will conduct another round of bonus permit purchases. According to the Bangor Daily News , the remaining lottery for unclaimed permits will begin on September 17 and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. The newspaper also reported that there were 21,664 DIY permits that went unpurchased in 2023! Given that in some WMDs there are more disposable DIYers than willing hunters, why not simply allow the two-deer option for each licensed hunter in those WMDs without the lottery?

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide and hosts a weekly radio program, “Maine Outdoors,” which is heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network. He is the author of three books. Information about purchasing online is available at www.sportingjournal.

Thanks for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading and support local, national journalism, please subscribe.

Back To Top