In the southern districts, hunting pressure in the beginning of the season was reported to be fairly good compared to previous years, but the corresponding harvest appears lower than expected. Hunting conditions were good overall with light snow in the middle of November, providing some improved opportunities for tracking.
Towards the western mountains, hunting conditions were also good, with hunting pressure light to moderate throughout the season. It looks as though these two factors resulted in a harvest lower than last year. In more northerly and easterly districts, weather in the beginning of the season was mild. The week prior to Thanksgiving produced heavy rain with snow appearing the Thanksgiving holiday. Hunting pressure and harvest was reportedly lower up north than previous years, but the North Maine Woods reported a slight (4.5%) increase in visitor days compared to last year.
Overall, weather conditions were highly variable with a mid-season rain event washing away earlier snow cover; followed by a snowy, Thanksgiving holiday. Early season mild temperatures may have been a factor in reduced hunting pressure, as was the extremely wet fall in most parts of the state. This, combined with abundant acorn and apple crops in some areas may have also reduced deer movements throughout the season, resulting in lower harvest.
Weather conditions, hunting pressure, variations in winter severity from 04'-05' across the state, and food abundance and availability are all key factors that have implications for a lower harvest for 2005. Any-deer permit allocations of 70,725 statewide and associated districts where reduction in densities is the goal will also need to be closely assessed in order to draw final conclusions regarding this year's harvest.
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