Deer Harvest Up Slightly

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Despite poor hunting conditions, preliminary figures for the 2003 Maryland two-week firearm season indicate that the 2003 deer harvest was up slightly from last year. Firearm deer hunters took an estimated 42,166 deer compared to 41,469 deer during the same period in 2002, an increase of 1.7 percent. The final deer harvest analysis will be completed after the close of all seasons.

During Maryland’s two-week firearm season, each hunter spends about five days pursuing white-tailed deer and sika deer while enjoying Maryland’s woods and fields. Deer hunting remains the most efficient and effective method to balance Maryland’s deer population with its environment and human neighbors. Recent increases in the harvest of antlerless deer will reduce deer-vehicle collisions, limit agricultural damage and mitigate ecological impacts.

Economically, deer hunting in Maryland generates an estimated $156 million in local and state revenue. Deer hunters purchase hunting equipment, supplies, gasoline, lodging and meals. Many hunters pay private landowners for the privilege of deer hunting through leases; and hunting licenses, stamps and excise taxes on hunting equipment fund nearly the entire Wildlife and Heritage Service budget in Maryland.

Deer hunters are reminded that Maryland’s two-week late muzzleloader season opened last Saturday, December 20, and closes on January 3, 2004. For additional information on deer and deer hunting, visit the Maryland DNR website at www.dnr.state.md.us.