VERONA ISLAND, Maine — Dody Bridges loves the herds of deer that pay a visit to her property on East Side Drive each evening. In the course of her 20 years there, as several as 14 have gathered about her man-produced pond at one particular time, so calm that they do not stir when she plays music for them.
“You likely could throw a ball to the deer, but we do not bother. And if I have a radio going, they stand proper there, specially if it is music,” Bridges mentioned. “They appreciate it, for the reason that they collect when there’s music playing. I’ve purposely gone out with the radio just to see their reaction.”
Encounters like Bridges’ illustrate information compiled by the state’s deer biologist that show this little island town across the channel from Bucksport is the location in the state exactly where deer and humans encounter every other most. Two other Hancock County towns, Mount Desert and Penobscot, rank second and third, respectively, on the index compiled by Nathan Bieber of the Maine Division of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
With firearms season for deer beginning Saturday with Youth Deer Day, and the resident and non-resident deer season starting Nov. two and Nov. four, respectively, the index could be excellent news for nearby hunters, but not as constructive for drivers and folks who do not like deer consuming their shrubs.
Bieber utilizes a formula to create a score for every town that incorporates the quantity of deer-automobile crashes, deer nuisance complaints and reports of human Lyme illness more than the previous 5 years, in addition to the state’s deer management objectives. The purpose is to locate places exactly where deer and human interactions take place most, and to use the data to make the interspecies partnership extra harmonious.
According to Bieber’s information, out of 917 municipalities, townships and plantations, Verona scored a .98. The town of Mount Desert scored a .97, and Penobscot tied with the Kennebec County town of Wayne for third with a score of .93. Arrowsic, in Sagadahoc County, scored fifth, with .90.
Bieber mentioned it is not surprising that Verona Island and Penobscot are in the major three. They are in Wildlife Management District 26, exactly where the state only difficulties about 250 doe and young buck hunting permits annually, so deer have a smaller sized likelihood of getting hunted there.
The area’s milder winters also permit deer less complicated foraging for meals and a higher likelihood of surviving the cold than in northern Maine, Bieber mentioned.
Mount Desert tends to make the list for the reason that hunting is not permitted there. Islands are also commonly significantly less hunted than the mainland, he mentioned.
“Land access is tough, significantly less attractive to hunters,” Bieber mentioned. “Access is the large challenge with islands. Discovering land to hunt on and folks prepared to travel there is extra difficult than in other locations.”
Back in Verona Island, Bridges hung “No Hunting” indicators on the 10 acres about her property years ago to stop what she considers a nuisance — hunters parking close to her house in search of deer crossing East Side Drive.
Hunters who like to stalk deer more than extended distances are extra most likely to stay away from islands, Bieber mentioned.
Scott Hanscom thinks hunting on Verona Island is not unique from hunting elsewhere in Maine. The 53-year-old island resident mentioned he hunts most each day he can, dividing time amongst Verona Island and his land in Orland.
“I assume it all comes down to population,” Hanscom mentioned of the prevalence of deer. “The extra folks you have, the extra they get squeezed out.”
Verona Island has a lot of open spaces, largely woods, he noted.
Verona Island also has a handful of folks who feed deer, according to Hanscom and other folks gathered at the Fort View Range comfort retailer Wednesday. Deer have also been identified to swim to the island or cross its two bridges, Hanscom mentioned.
Feeding deer is inadvisable, Bieber mentioned. The deer turn out to be extra acclimated to getting fed than feeding themselves. Feeding them contributes to the spread of deer-borne ailments, and it brings deer in make contact with with roads exactly where they are struck by autos, he mentioned.
State officials can manipulate deer populations in provided places with deer repellent chemical compounds, fences and by issuing particular permits to hunters. Folks who want deer removed from their house or neighborhood should really make contact with the Maine Warden Service or biologists at the Division of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Bieber mentioned.
“Our purpose,” Bieber mentioned, “is to have a extra harmonious partnership amongst deer and folks.”