Maryland Deer Harvest Up for Opening Weekend

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Deer hunters took advantage of clear and cool opening weekend weather to bag an estimated 18,099 deer to start the two-week firearm season. The two-day opening weekend harvest represents a modest 5 percent increase over last year's 17,231 deer for the same period. The antlered harvest increased from 8,019 deer last year to 8,179 this year, while the antlerless harvest increased from 9,212 to 9,920 deer.

Sika deer comprised 169 of the antlered and 136 of the antlerless deer taken in the opening weekend. These figures are similar to the 143 antlered and 147 antlerless sika deer reported last year.

"The early season deer kill during the archery and muzzleloader seasons was down due to unseasonably warm weather and an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease. The firearm season opening weekend rebound indicates there are still ample opportunities for hunters to put some venison in the freezer and further the objectives of our Deer Management Plan," said Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler. "Several counties were still down this weekend so we will continue monitoring them closely through the end of the season to better determine the status of deer populations in those areas," Eyler added.

The opening weekend harvest in Region A (Garrett and Allegany Counties) was up slightly from 1,465 antlered deer last year to 1,570 antlered deer this year. In Region B, the antlered harvest increased from 6,554 deer last year to 6,609 this year, while the antlerless harvest increased from 9,212 to 9,920 deer this year.

Hunters once again took advantage of the opportunity to hunt on Sunday in many counties and harvested 3,707 deer. In Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties, where Sunday hunting was made legal for the first time this year, hunters reported a total of 2,796 deer for the weekend; a 48 percent increase over last year’s opening weekend harvest of 1,890 deer.

"Sunday hunting continues to become more popular with our deer hunters. The day provides another opportunity for hunters to enjoy the outdoors and it helps DNR come closer to balancing the deer herd with the environment and its human neighbors," added Eyler.

The two-week deer firearm season runs through Saturday, December 8. For more information about deer hunting in Maryland visit www.dnr.maryland.gov/wildlife/deerhunting.asp