Preliminary figures nearly identical to last year
ANNAPOLIS Preliminary data indicate Maryland deer hunters killed 44,066 deer during the two-week firearm season, down about 2 percent from the official harvest of 45,070 deer last year. The antlered harvest of 16,085 deer (428 sika deer) was similar to last years antlered harvest of 16,098 deer (388 sika deer), while the antlerless harvest declined from 28,972 deer last year (492 sika deer) to 27,981 deer (480 sika deer) this year.
The antlered deer harvest has remained relatively constant over the last five years, a strong indicator that the deer population has stabilized or declined in rural areas of the state, said Doug Hotton, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Deer Project Leader. Regulated hunting remains the most effective deer population management tool available to the modern wildlife manager; our data continue to support that theory.
Junior firearm hunters experienced unseasonably warm temperatures during the designated junior deer hunt. Junior hunters reported 1,792 deer this year (1,029 antlered and 763 antlerless), compared to the official harvest of 2,239 deer (1,267 antlered and 972 antlerless) last year.
Junior hunters who harvested a deer this year were once again eligible for an official DNR junior hunter certificate. Available through DNR, in cooperation with participating retail agents, the certificates are produced in-house and allow young hunters the option of having their picture posted on the DNR website at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/Junior_Hunters/md_jr_hunter.asp.
The junior hunter program is proving to be one of the truly great ideas borne of our Information and Education team, said Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto. In only its second year, participation from agents continues to grow along with the enthusiasm and interest of young hunters and their adult mentors.
Source: Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR)