Deer hunters have been in the woods since September with bows. Halloween marks the start of "gun season" in Maine.

Gun season is finally here. After Youth deer hunters got a jump start on the season on October 22, and Maine residents on October 29, the firearms season is open to all in Maine. The firearms season runs through November 26. The season wraps up with a two week (in some zones) muzzleloader season. Week one, November 28 through December 3, is statewide. Week two, December 5-10, is only in WMDs 12, 13, 15-18, 20-26, 29.

Earlier in October, "over the counter" antlerless tags went on-sale. According to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife data, over 20,000 permits were sold as of October 14. More than 16,000 permits were sold on Tuesday October 11. IFW says, "At the time the site went live at 11:00 AM, there were approximately 12,000 people immediately entering the queue. The page saw an inflow rate of up to 600 users per minute!"

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IFW says "If there are antlerless deer permits remaining after the start of the firearms season, hunters may purchase one additional permit. Hunters will be notified of the opportunity on the MDIFW website in early November."

Tags cost $14 ($12 tag + $2 agent fee). The $12 will go to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife 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 antlerless deer permit fees, $2 from collected deer registrations will go to the management fund. Doe tags are expected to fetch over $750,000 for the fund. The collected funds will be matched 3:1 with money from the Pittman-Robertson Act.

Prior to gun season, hunters could take to the woods for expanded archery season in September. The regular archery season opened in early October.

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