The numbers are in for Maine's 2020 deer season.

Last weekend, the Maine deer hunting season came to a close. Both the expanded archery and muzzleloader seasons ended Dec. 12. Scrolling through social media during Maine's most popular hunting season, you may see an endless stream of downed deer. While it may seem like every hunter that ventures into the woods returns with a big ol' buck, in reality only a percentage of hunters are successful by seasons end.

According to newly released data from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the 2020 season yielded 33,157 deer harvested. For comparison, Maine wildlife biologists issued 109,890 doe, or "any deer," permits for the 2020 firearms season. That was a new record number of hunters went into the season with any deer permits. 68,145 permits were issued in 2019.

The amount of any deer permits that will be issued for a season are carefully calculated by Maine wildlife biologists. Back in July, Maine’s leading deer biologist, Nathan Bieber, was featured on an episode of the Big Woods Bucks Podcast. Bieber revealed hunter participation in the doe harvest varies wildly throughout the state. In some wildlife management districts, it takes issuing three or four any deer permits to yield one harvested doe. In other areas, particularly in southern Maine, the ratio is closer to 15 to 20 permits to yield one harvested doe, according to Bieber.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is now issuing 2021 hunting and fishing licenses. Licenses can be purchased online or at any of the more than 800 licensing agents throughout the state.

2020 hunting licenses can still be put to use, as multiple seasons continue through this month into 2021. Maine's gray squirrel season ends Dec. 31. Snowshoe hare, bobcat, fox, and coyote (night hunting) seasons continue in to 2021. Be sure to check 2020-2021 season dates here.

Licenses support Maine's fish and wildlife management efforts.

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