Some big changes to Maine's any-deer permitting system is being discussed. Here's what those changes would look like.

Big changes may be coming to Maine's any-deer lottery. The details on what the new permitting system may look like is becoming clearer. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife first discussed the proposed changes in a work session that was streamed online back in January.

Here's how the new any-deer lottery would work:

  • Hunters enter the any-deer lottery for free.
  • If selected for a permit, a $12 fee will be charged for an antlerless deer tag. The fee will need to be paid for prior to a set date.
  • Additional tags in WMDs that have extra doe tags available would then be available for purchase, similar to how expanded archery permits can be purchased.
  • Hunters can only purchase one additional tag at a time. The antlerless tag must be filled before another can be purchased.

The $12 fee will go to the department's Maine Deer Management Fund. The newly created program works to enhance deer habitat. The funds are used for predator control, and to acquire or enhance deer habitat. In addition to any-deer permit fees, $2 from collected deer registrations will go to the management fund.

Executive Director of Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, David Trahan, recently spoke of the any-deer lottery changes and the deer management fund on an episode of the Big Woods Bucks podcast. In the episode, Trahan told the BWB crew the new any-deer permitting system would allow for hunters to take a buck with their big game license, per usual, at no extra charge.

A second deer could be harvested if awarded a doe tag via the lottery, and the $12 fee has been paid. If more permits are available in the WMD, a hunter can purchase an additional doe tag over the counter. A hunter must fill the previous doe tag before another can be purchased. Additionally, the trading doe tags would no longer be allowed. His remarks on the any-deer lottery begin at 30:10 in the video above.

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We're told the bill, LD 116, is currently out of committee, and onto the next phase in the legislature. If agreed upon, an emergency clause may be put on the bill to make the changes go into effect immediately. The bill needs approval in the legislature before becoming law. Legislature approval would determine when the new lottery system would take effect. We're told the bill will likely be heard durring the current legislative session, which concludes in April.

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