No one would deny that it's been a long, cold winter, but state wildlife officials say that for Maine's deer population, other recent winters have been worse. State deer biologist Kyle Ravana says the winters of 2008 and 2009 were so harsh that the state lost about a third of its deer population.
Ravana says there are preliminary indications that, while this year's more severe than average winter is likely to cause significant deer mortality, several factors will keep the numbers lower than the winters of 2008/2009.
"Those were consecutively very severe winters - they were back-to-back," Ravana says. "You know, we're not experiencing that at this point in time."
Ravana says in more recent years, winters have been relatively mild, which gave deer an edge going into this winter. He says that, over time, deer have adapted to living in harsh northern climates, which helps sustain the population.
Ravana says the state takes winter mortality numbers into account when deciding the number of any-deer permits to issue for the next fall.
This story was reported and written by Ed Morin.