The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced today that hunters harvested fewer deer during the early hunting season compared with last year.
Maryland hunters wrapped up the early portion of the archery and muzzleloader deer seasons by harvesting an estimated 19,859 deer in September and October, a 14 percent decrease from last year’s harvest of 23,097.
Department biologists attribute the decrease to various factors, including lower deer numbers, abundant mast (fruit or seed of woody trees and shrubs) and decreased effort due to poor weather conditions.
The two-month harvest included 12,269 deer taken during the archery season (6,833 taken with vertical bows and 5,436 taken with crossbows) and 7,275 harvested during the October muzzleloader season. An additional 315 deer were reported during managed deer hunts. Hunters harvested 497 antlered and 534 antlerless sika deer.
The archery harvest decreased 7 percent while the muzzleloader harvest decreased 25 percent, primarily due to unfavorable weather for during key hunting days. Compared to last year, the antlered harvest decreased 17 percent from 7,649 to 6,350 deer and the antlerless harvest decreased 13 percent from 15,448 to 13,509.
Turkey hunters reported taking 119 wild turkeys (Allegany County 35; Garrett 51; Washington 33) during the one week fall season that ended Nov. 5. The harvest was similar to last year (116).