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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The annual deer hunt is getting under way as Maine residents take to the woods amid optimism there will be more opportunities to bag a whitetail this season.

Firearms season for licensed Maine hunters who are residents begins on Saturday, and nonresident hunters can join the hunt beginning Monday. The season ends for all Nov. 24, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Hunters are permitted to take one antlered deer annually in Maine, while hunters with an any-deer permit are allowed to take either one antlered deer or one antlerless deer.

Hunters are hoping that the combination of the past year's mild winter and early spring improved conditions to bolster Maine's deer herd.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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