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Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup says residents must buy their 2012 deer hunting licence before they can apply for an antlerless deer permit. (CBC)

An extra 550 deer permits will be up for grabs in New Brunswick this year due to an increase in the deer population.

There will be 3,450 antlerless deer permits in the annual draw, Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup said in a release.

The increase reflects the growth of the population but is modest enough to ensure more females will be able to breed and thereby contribute to the growth of deer herds.

Residents have until 5 p.m. on July 20 to apply.

"New Brunswick's deer population has risen in some areas over the last year because of the mild winter we have had, as well as significant reductions in antlerless deer permits in recent years," said Northrup.

"As a result, the Department of Natural Resources is able to increase the quotas in particular zones this year."

Quotas for antlerless deer licences are based upon scientific evidence gathered by department staff, said Northrup.

Big game biologists and wildlife managers make recommendations designed to ensure the populations of antlerless deer are managed responsibly, he said.

Anyone interested in hunting for antlerless deer must buy their 2012 deer hunting licence before they can apply for a permit.

Residents may apply for a permit to hunt for antlerless deer in one zone only, said Northrup. The cost to apply is $4.52.

The random computerized draw for permits will be held in late summer, he said. Successful applicants will receive a validation sticker in the mail prior to Oct. 1.