The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is recruiting deer spies, to help them estimate the current deer population in the state.

This sounds like the perfect project for me. Jim and I will often grab a cup of coffee and head out at dusk, to drive around and look for deer. We just love seeing them. For him, it's a chance to check the herd and see how healthy they are, where they're hanging out, and how the fawns are looking. He's a hunter, so all of that interests him. For me, it's a chance to do some nature photography, which I love. I'll even take my camera with me on my morning commute, to try and capture images of more deer.

Cindy Campbell, Townsquare Media

Our evening excursions are exactly what it takes to become a deer spy, except we don't report our findings to anyone. Sound like fun? The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife would love to hear from you, because the information submitted by citizen scientists, or deer spies, is important. Maine issues 'any-deer' permits each year, as a way to control the size of the population, but they have to be careful not to issue too many and thin out the herd too much, or issue too few and have the population grow to be too large. They base their decisions on the input they get about the number of deer people are seeing in their communities. All the information that's gathered will be analyzed and compiled in the MDIF&W's annual Research and Management Reports.

If you'd like to take part, you have two options for submitting your data. You can do it through postal mail. Just print out the recording data and instructions and submit it before October 1, 2020. The other option is to submit the data via email. Contact them, if you're interested, and have fun. Just don't forget the coffee and the camera.