SAINT JOHN, New Brunswick (AP) – Like neighboring Maine, New Brunswick is looking to trim its deer population.

The province’s Natural Resources Department has issued 3,122 stickers that will allow people to hunt antlerless deer this fall. That represents a nearly 25 per cent increase over the 2,355 anterless deer permits it gave out last year.

Kevin Craig, a wildlife biologist with the department, said Thursday the increase in permits is the result of a rapidly growing deer population.

“In the St. John River Valley area, the indices we usually collect to determine the health of the population have shown it’s approaching carrying capacity,” he said.

This capacity, he said, is the upper limit of the number of deer biologists like to see in the province.

In Maine, where the deer population expanded last winter, state biologists have recommended increasing the number of hunting licenses this year to help pare down the stock.

State deer biologist Gerry Lavigne recommended an increase of 3,550 in the number of any-deer permits for the 2004 hunting season.

New Brunswick biologist Craig said that when the deer population rises above its carrying capacity, it puts them at risk of outstripping their habitat and food supply.

“It may not have an effect for a while, but when a bad winter comes and their numbers are that high, it can cause problems for the herd,” he said. “The land base won’t support them in times of stress, and the population actually goes back down.”

Craig said the population has grown most likely because of a series of relatively mild winters in recent years.

On the Net:

Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, any-deer permits:

AP-ES-08-20-04 0802EDT

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