For more than a century, Maine deer have been managed for maximum populations that benefit deer hunters. But Lyme disease is changing the discussion, and is likely to force Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to reduce deer populations in coastal, southern, and central Maine – even while they struggle to rebuild deer populations in western and northern Maine.
As Mainers, concerned about Lyme disease, demand a reduction – or even the elimination of deer in their neighborhoods – DIF&W will be challenged, partly because hunting with guns is unwelcome in many of the places with the highest populations of deer. And of course, lots of land throughout the state is now posted and unavailable to hunters.
In 1997, a sharpshooter was paid to kill 52 of the estimated 70 deer on Monhegan Island, and two years later, Peaks Island voted to hire a sharpshooter. He killed 172 deer in February, 2000, in just five days.