WEST NEWFIELD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- We don't have much for reindeer in Maine, but we do have plenty of white tail deer. If you're looking to farm deer, than the red deer is a popular option.
Applegate Deer Farm in West Newfield got its start in 1999, when Edgar and Patricia Dolbec decided to buy their first red deer that are native to New Zealand. Eighteen years later, they have a herd of 54. Mostly does and fawns, but there is one big leader appropriately named Big Guy. The stag is an important part of the farm's breeding program, but the antlers he grows each year are also high up on the priority list.
"After the old antlers drop off and the new growth comes up, we count between 55 and 65 days and when the antler gets into a fist right before the crown bursts out is about the time to cut them," said Dolbec.
Once a year big guy and other stags are sorted from the herd so that Dolbec can harvest their antlers and send them to Tobin Farms in Alna. That's where Darrel Tobin dries the set for several months. When the antlers are completely dried, they're cut and ground into a fine powder that's sorted into capsules. According to the Tobin Farms' website, the velvet antler capsules are used by customers to support the body's own natural functions.
The Dolbecs are diligent in taking a daily capsule that's produced from their own red deer.
"Helps with a little bit of joint pain and it gives you a little bit of energy," said Edgar Dolbec.
Venison and velvet antler capsules are two reasons for red deer Farms in Maine, but a third option is hunting. According to Dolbec, if red deer farmers have enough land they are allowed to run organized hunts on their farms.