AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine wildlife officials say they expect the state's deer hunters to have a productive year because of weather conditions and the size of the herd.

The firearms season for deer began on Oct. 27 with "resident only" day and lasts until Nov. 24. Maine deer biologist Nathan Bieber says a growing deer population in central and southern Maine is good news for the state's hunters.

Last year's hunt was the most successful in a decade. Bieber says this year has "the potential to be even better."

Bieber says cool weather at the start of the season and some snow in northern parts of the state bode well for sportsmen. There are more than 215,000 licensed hunters in the state. Last year's hunt provided more than 1.5 million pounds of meat.