AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine's wildlife officials say deer hunters in the state had their most successful season in the last 10 years in 2017, in part because of a growing deer herd.

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife says hunters harvested 27,233 deer last year. That's an increase of 15 percent from 2016.

Maine deer biologist Nathan Bieber says the deer herd's increasing in southern and central Maine, and that combined with favorable hunting conditions made for a good year for hunters.

Hunters in Maine search for deer from early September to early December every year. The season's broken down into segments for hunters who use firearms, muzzleloaders and archery. Most of the deer are taken during the firearms season, which accounted for more than 23,000 of the deer last year.

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