DNR Proposes Changes to Deer Seasons
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is proposing a mid-cycle change in the deer hunting seasons and bag limits for Garrett and Allegany Counties (Deer Management Region A). The Department is accepting comments on these changes through April 19.
Over the period of 1999-2002 the deer population in these counties reached an all time high. In order to bring the population back down to an acceptable level, DNR incrementally increased antlerless deer harvest limits. However the most recent changes have had a more rapid impact than expected, especially on public lands. An in-depth analysis of the statewide 2004–05 deer hunting season harvest data shows that for the past two years deer populations dropped below deer management plan goals.
These changes would only apply to the 2005-2006 deer hunting seasons. Any new regulation proposals would be opened to public input through the normal regulatory cycle in early 2006.
“We are proposing these adjustments to bring the population back to acceptable ranges for the social and environmental conditions, and more effectively manage the Garrett and Allegany deer populations without fear of causing a long-term decline,” said Paul A. Peditto, Director of the WHS.
WHS is proposing a 10% reduction in the antlerless deer harvest rate. For the past two years the antlerless harvest has been in the 45–50%. The antlerless harvest rate represents the antlerless portion of the total deer harvest. It does not represent the portion of antlerless deer removed from regional population. The following proposed changes would achieve a 30-35% antlerless harvest rate:
1. Change the bag limits for each season (Bow, Firearm, Muzzleloader) from 2 deer – 1 antlered and 1 antlerless or 2 antlerless, to 2 deer – 1 antlered and 1 antlerless;
2. Shorten the private and public land firearm season either-sex days from the last 2 days (Friday – Saturday) of the 2-week firearm season to the last day (Saturday) of the 2-week firearm season;
3. Reduce the number of private land either-sex days in the 2-week muzzleloader season from the last 7 days (Saturday – Saturday) to the last 3 days (Thursday – Saturday) of the 2-week muzzleloader season;
4. Reduce the number of public land either sex days in the 2-week muzzleloader season from the last 2 days (Friday – Saturday) to the last day (Saturday) of the 2-week muzzleloader season; and
5. Eliminate the 3-day antlerless only muzzleloader season on private lands.
The Department is accepting comments on these changes through April 19. Interested persons may submit comments by one of the following methods:
Wildlife & Heritage Service
Region A Deer Proposals
580 Taylor Avenue, E-1
Annapolis, MD 21401