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Delaware Sets Deer Harvest Record

Delaware hunters registered a record 17,265 harvested deer during the 2020/21 hunting season with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, surpassing the previous record harvest of 16,969 deer set last year during the 2019/20 hunting season. This year marks the eighth consecutive year that more than 14,000 deer were harvested.

With the record-breaking total harvest, numerous other records were surpassed this year, including:

· November Shotgun Season harvest: 7,072 deer (previous record: 7,016 deer during the 1999/2000 season)

· Adult doe harvest: 8,439 deer (previous record: 8,122 deer during the 2019/20 season)

· Nine of the 18 Wildlife Management Zones had record harvests: Zones 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16 and 17

· Public lands harvest: 14.8% of total harvest (previous record: 14.4% in 2018/19 season)

Sussex County had the highest harvest with 9,580 deer during the 2020/21 hunting season, followed by Kent County with 4,863 and New Castle County with 2,822.

With all Sundays open to deer hunting during the hunting season for the third consecutive year, a total of 2,168 deer were harvested on the 22 Sundays open to deer hunting on private lands and designated DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife public wildlife areas.

During the 2020/21 hunting season, hunters harvested more females (does) than males (bucks), with the harvest comprised of 56.3% (9,722) does of all age classes and 43.7% (7,543) bucks. Antlerless deer — does and bucks without antlers or antlers measuring less than three inches — represented 72.4% of the total harvest. The doe harvest increased to 56.3% of the total harvest, and Delaware continues to have one of the highest antlerless deer harvest rates per square mile in the nation, both important to manage the size and quality of Delaware’s deer population.

Biologists will continue to analyze the harvest data over the coming weeks, and more detailed information will be posted on the Division’s website upon completion of all analyses.

The Sportsman Against Hunger Program had another successful year through the generosity of hunters, with 758 donated deer yielding more than 21,000 pounds of processed venison meat. The venison was distributed by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife to charitable organizations to provide over 84,000 meals to those in need.

For more information about hunting on state wildlife areas, including wildlife area maps and rules, licensing and other requirements, visit de.gov/hunting. More information on hunting seasons and wildlife areas is available in the 2020/2021 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide or by calling the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912.