birds, deer, furbearers, moose

Tracking bears, highest turkey harvest in years: Maine biologists provide 2021 wildlife report

Mon, 12/20/2021 - 5:00pm

From focused harvest data to research and management updates, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife's Research and Management Report has released its comprehensive look at how wildlife biologists are monitoring the state's wildlife and implementing innovative tools to ensure effective management and protection for each species in the state of Maine.

Click here to view the 2020-2021 Research and Management Report.

Click here to view harvest data for summer and fall 2021 hunting seasons.

What to expect in the report:

  research and management report cover
female black bear with cubs

Black bear

With one of the most extensive and longest-running programs of its type in the U.S., MDIFW biologists have captured and tracked over 3,000 black bears in the last 45 years. This data provides vital information about bear health and condition, an estimate of how many cubs are born each year, and cause-specific mortality rates. Gain insight on how MDIFW biologists work to maintain a stable black bear population across the state with methodical seasons, permits, and bag limits.



MDIFW wildlife biologists detail the Adaptive Management Hunt which was implemented in 2021 and outline the intensive work of the Moose Adult Cow and Calf Survival study. Learn more about moose reproduction in Maine, biological data collection, and how permit allocations are developed in the interest of safeguarding healthier moose across the state.    



Furbearers, the most versatile group of harvested species in Maine, consist of predators, prey, dispersers, and keystone species. Active furbearer management, including modern-day regulated trapping, fulfills an important role in the success of other wildlife. This year’s R&M Report details how regulated harvesting of these species helps to reduce disease and parasites in populations, increase survival of endangered and threatened species by decreasing predation, and provides biological data for state-wide monitoring needs.


White-tailed deer

With five structured hunting seasons for deer, the 2020-2021 R&M Report provides insight to the number of permits allocated across the state, the sex and age composition of the 2020 deer harvest, and effort put forth by our dedicated hunters. The report details the valuable data collected from harvested deer to assess the status and health of the state’s deer population, biological data collection and its contribution to Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance, and the continuing progress in the deer winter mortality study.


Wild turkey

Following a successful wild turkey reproduction year, the 2020 fall season resulted in the highest wild turkey harvest since the fall season began in 2002. The adaptive harvest management system has informed harvest recommendations for seasons with the flexibility to adjust as annual and periodic data is collected on Maine’s wild turkeys. Learn more about wild turkey research projects and the biological data that assists MDIFW wildlife biologist’s in the management process in the 2020-2021 R&M Report.


Migratory game birds

With more than 20 species of migratory game birds, the collaborative efforts of MDIFW and the US Fish and Wildlife Service is essential to monitor and assess harvest for each species. Get a quick look at waterfowl harvest estimates in the 2020-2021 R&M Report.

2021-2022 Wildlife conservation projects and data will be available in the next Research and Management Report. To view past reports, as well as updates on small mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and more please visit