Youth Hunters Can Take an Antlerless Deer on ‘Maine Youth Day’ Without a Permit
As a part of the sweeping changes to Maine's antlerless deer harvest, youth hunters will be allowed to take "any deer" on Youth Day without a permit.
Big changes were made to Maine's any-deer lottery system prior to season. As a part of the changes, youth hunters will be allowed to harvest an antlerless deer on "Youth Day" without a permit. Only junior hunters who hold a valid junior hunting license can participate in this specially designated hunting day, which is set for October 22. The special rule is statewide, even in WMDs that don't have antlerless tags available. WMDs 1, 2, 4, 5, and 28 did not have antlerless tags available for purchase or via the lottery. There are some rules to consider with a youth taking an antlerless deer without a permit.
According to IFW:
- "If a junior hunter takes an antlered deer on Youth Deer Hunting Day, they are prohibited from taking additional deer unless they have antlerless deer permits or participate in the expanded archery season (designated areas only) with appropriate expanded archery permits."
- "If a junior hunter takes an antlerless deer without an antlerless deer permit on Youth Deer Hunting Day, they are prohibited from taking an antlered deer or additional antlerless deer unless they have antlerless deer permits or participate in the expanded archery season (designated areas only) with appropriate expanded archery permits."
Essentially, if a youth hunter harvests an alterless deer without having a permit on "Youth Day," they're tagged out for the season. If the junior hunter takes an antlerless deer on Youth Day, and has an antlerless permit, they can still fill the anterless permit. IFW says "If the youth hunter hopes to harvest an antlered deer and an antlerless deer, they should hunt in the district of their antlerless deer permit on youth day, so they would still be able to harvest an antlered deer."
On October 29, the firearms season will open to Maine resident hunters. The special day gives Mainers an opportunity to get an early start to the deer season. The rifle season opens to all on October 31, and runs through November 26.