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October 24, 2007

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100 Best Public-Land Hunts: Maine

Bud Leavitt Wildlife Management Area
central Maine
6,430 acres
ZIP: 04426

Deer populations are relatively low in Maine, where the herd numbers only about 250,000 on opening day and the annual harvest is less than 30,000. Leavitt is in Wildlife Management District 17, which last season recorded the highest harvest of Maine’s 29 Wildlife Management Districts: The district’s 4,594 deer accounted for more than 15 percent of the statewide take. Situated on fairly mountainous terrain that used to hold small farms, Leavitt’s chief appeal is the rich variety of habitat types it offers whitetail hunters, who can target field edges, side hills, oak stands, wetlands, food plots, old apple orchards and new crab apple plots. Active management helps keep abandoned farm fields open and thins the spruce-fir forest canopy to provide young browse and optimum winter cover. Allen Starr, assistant regional wildlife biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, says current deer numbers are only about 60 percent of what the land could sustain, which means that bucks are in good shape, often topping out at more than 200 pounds.

Frye Mountain Wildlife Management Area
south-central Maine
5,240 acres
ZIP: 04986

Located in Wildlife Management District 23, which recorded the second highest harvest in Maine last year with 2,895 deer, Frye Mountain is heavily forested in second-growth spruce and white pine. A fair amount of oaks produce a good crop of acorns, and lots of reverting farm fields and old apple trees complete the mixed habitat. “The variety offers a very nice opportunity, really quite a pleasant landscape for deer hunting,” says regional wildlife biologist Jim Connolly of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. That helps explain why Frye Mountain is a popular destination for Maine hunters. Getting away from the crowds can be tough: Though it’s fairly hilly, a good road network eases access into even the most far-flung areas.


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I'd like to take one of those 200 pounders from Maine.


They're here for sure! I took a 140"+ brute that dressed over 200 lb. a few years ago and family members have done the same or better! There have been alot more of the big 'ol boys spotted the past few years. This past winter was a rough one for the herd, but they'll be there!

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Field & Stream reporter Steven Hill spent two months interviewing state game agency officials, deer biologists, and whitetail experts to identify the absolute best public whitetail hunting grounds in the nation.

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