AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine's state biologists say early snowfall helped the Pine Tree State's deer hunters have a productive year in 2014.

Officials say deer hunters in Maine harvested 22,490 deer in 2014. The total is the second-highest of the past six years. State Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife deer biologist Kyle Ravana says heavy early snow in November helped hunters track deer more easily.

The state's November firearms hunting season for deer is the busiest part of the hunting season, which runs from early September to mid-December. Officials say the November firearms part of the season accounted for more than 18,500 of the deer harvest in 2014.

State biologists are recommending a 23 percent reduction in deer hunting permits for 2015 because of the tough winter's toll on the herd.