Big changes to Maine's any-deer permitting system will go into effect for the upcoming season. Here's how it will work.

Big changes are coming to Maine's any-deer lottery. The details of the new permitting system are 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. The bill, LD 116, outlines the changes. The bill has cleared the Senate and House, and will now go to the Governor's desk to be signed.

Here's how the new any-deer lottery will 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 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.
  • No doe tag trades/swaps.

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. 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.

Executive Director of Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, David Trahan, spoke of the any-deer lottery changes and the deer management fund on an episode of the Big Woods Bucks podcast back in February. 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.

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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.

In a more recent episode of the BWB podcast, Trahan confirmed that the new system will be in place for the upcoming 2022 deer season. Hear his remarks on the new lottery beginning at 23:50.

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