AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – An agreement between Irving Woodlands and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is expected to expand the state’s deer wintering habitats.

The agreement, signed Friday by IFW Commissioner Roland D. Martin and Irving representatives, will triple the portion of the company’s land that is managed as deer wintering area, state officials said.

Irving owns around 1.5 million acres in Maine, primarily in northern Aroostook County. The agreement, which involves almost 10 percent of Irving’s property in the state, gives Irving long-term guidelines for timber harvesting.

Biologists believe that maintaining healthy deer populations in Maine depends on protecting large strands of mature hemlock, spruce and fir trees to provide open space and shelter from cold, wind and deep snow.

The area that deer occupy during winter generally represents only 10 to 20 percent of their summer range.

Deer often return to the same locations each winter.

AP-ES-05-16-03 1616EDT

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