Maryland hunters reported taking 35,078 deer during the state’s most popular hunt, the two-week firearm season. The total was 12 percent greater than last year’s harvest of 31,304. Fair weather and a reduced harvest in September and October contributed to the increase. Over 4,300 deer were taken on the two Sundays during the season.
“Deer hunters got off to a slower start than normal earlier this fall however they came out in force during the annual firearm season and the harvest rebounded accordingly,” said Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto. “Sunday hunting also played a valuable role in the strong harvest totals.”
Hunters reported taking 22,407 antlerless white-tailed deer the season, nearly double the total of antlered white-tailed deer (12,671). Focusing the harvest on antlerless deer remains a fundamental component of the department’s effort to manage the state’s deer population.
In western Maryland (Region A) hunters reported taking 4,018 white-tailed deer, a slight increase from last year’s harvest of 3,965. The region’s harvest was comprised of 2,462 antlered and 1,556 antlerless deer. In the remainder of the state (Region B), the white-tailed deer harvest increased 14 percent from last year’s harvest of 26,364 to 30,000 deer this year. That region’s total included 9,722 antlered and 20,278 antlerless deer.
The harvest of sika deer also increased this year with hunters reporting 1,060 deer (487 antlered and 573 antlerless) compared to 975 (392 antlered and 583 antlerless) in 2015.
“Hunters have responded favorably to the recent liberalization of bag limits for sika deer,” Peditto said. “We modified those limits to help reduce and stabilize the deer population, especially where it has caused significant agricultural damage.”
Young hunters reported taking 2,443 deer in November during the Junior Deer Hunt Days, slightly below last year’s harvest of 2,534. They registered 1,557 antlered and 886 antlerless deer.