Bag ‘Em: Maine Has Best Deer Season in Five Decades

by Shelby Scott

As the coronavirus pandemic first struck the United States nearly two years ago, calls for social distancing and mandatory quarantines bred a whole new generation of hunters nationally. That said, many of those enthusiastic Outsiders have taken to the woods this hunting season with bolstered excitement and anticipation. Now, deer season remains in full swing across the country. During which, Maine has reported its best deer season in five decades. The state has recorded an impressive total numbering more than 38,000 harvests so far.

The total harvests, numbering 38,916, comes via the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Meanwhile, Fox News reports 2021 may have seen the most deer harvested since 1968, more than five decades ago. For now though, the 1968 total remains the record, reaching 41,080 deer harvested in ME.

Further, the outlet stated this year’s numbers have rocketed past last year’s. 2020’s total harvests maxed out at just 33,159 deer.

Record Deer Season Results From Several Contributing Factors

The increased number of hunters surely contributes to ME’s remarkable deer season. However, state deer biologist Nathan Bieber explored several other reasons why Outsiders have seen such positive results this year.

“The amount of available opportunity certainly factors in,” Bieber began. “With a lot of permits available to harvest does, especially bonus permits allowing hunters to take antlerless deer and then continue to buck hunt, we’re hoping to see significantly more antlerless harvest.”

Further, the number of deer hunters have certainly increased nationally. However, the news outlet also reports ME issued a record number of deer hunting permits this year. Additionally, hunters were able to hunt on certain Sundays. Therefore, they were provided one more day a week to the already sizable opportunity.

Worker Shortages Complicate Harvests Nationally

We’re happy to see so many of our New England Outsiders scoring some major game this year. However, with increased totals in deer harvests, it also means added pressure for processing services across the country.

For now, we’ve no reports from ME stating the added harvests have created difficulty for the state’s processing centers. However, south in Covington, Kentucky, one processing business was forced to suspend future services for the remainder of 2021 due to the worker shortage.

The announcement came earlier this hunting season, Gliers Best Deer Processing shutting its doors back in late October. Sadly, it marks a loss of profit for the company. Although, their website states they hope to return in 2022 for a better season.

Nevertheless, the success of the deer harvesting business depends on the number of laborers and whether or not the country sees an increase in those seeking employment. That said, Kerry Schall, director of marketing and special events for Gliers Best Deer Processing said, “We sincerely hope that we can come back, better than ever for the 2022 Deer Season, but due to the current situation and the uncertainty of how long it will last that is a promise we don’t know that we can keep.”