BAR HARBOR — A plan to allow the hunting of deer for the first time since the 1930s will be the subject of a public hearing before the town council on Tuesday, Aug. 5.
Following the hearing, town councilors will consider putting the deer hunt question to residents at town meeting in November. The public hearing begins at 7 p.m.
The proposed deer herd management plan, which would create a special firearm season in the short term and a regular archery season in the long term, is available for review at www.BarHarborMaine.gov. It was developed by the deer herd task force working in conjunction with College of the Atlantic, Acadia National Park and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW).
As proposed, the hunt would initially involve a two-to-four-week firearm and archery season, to take place around the end of December. This special hunt would last for at least two seasons, after which time the effectiveness would be assessed. Once a satisfactory reduction has been made in the deer population, IFW would oversee a regular archery season every autumn. Firearm hunting for deer would no longer be permitted after that time.
During the special winter hunts, hunters would be restricted to tree stands or ground blinds and would be tied by registration to specific properties. Only property owners or their designees would be able to participate, and all participants would be required to register in advance and be vetted by the town and the IFW.
All of the land within the boundaries of Acadia National Park and downtown Bar Harbor would be closed to hunting.
If a town meeting vote supports the management plan, town councilors would be able to petition the IFW commissioner to enact the plan.