Maryland deer hunters endured less than favorable weather conditions for the two-week deer firearm season and harvested an estimated 40,694 deer — a 9 percent decrease from last year's harvest for the same period. The total included 13,605 antlered deer and 27,089 antlerless deer. Included in the totals were 516 antlered and 565 antlerless sika deer.
"Cold temperatures, stiff winds and an abundant acorn crop that altered normal deer movements slowed the harvest across the State for the firearm season," said Brian Eyler, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Deer Project Leader. "We are pleased to see the Region B antlerless deer harvest remains strong as this is an important aspect of our deer management strategy."
Region A deer hunters (Garrett, Allegany and western Washington counties) reported 4,422 deer for the two-week season, a decline of 8 percent from last year’s harvest of 4,809 deer. The antlered harvest decreased an estimated 4 percent from 2,620 deer last year to 2,528 deer this year, while the antlerless harvest decreased 14 percent from 2,189 deer to 1,894 deer.
In Region B, harvest decreased 9 percent from 39,995 deer last year to 36,272 deer this year. The antlered harvest decreased 14 percent from 12,827 deer last year to 11,077 deer this year, while the antlerless tally decreased 7 percent from 27,168 to 25,195 deer this year.
Deer hunters harvested 3,852 deer (1,457 antlered, 2,395 antlerless) on the first Sunday of the two-week season in the 19 counties where Sunday hunting is permitted on private land only. In southern Maryland (Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties), hunters took advantage of new legislation that permitted Sunday hunting on the second Sunday of the two-week season and harvested an additional 164 deer.
"Sunday hunting is especially important when unfavorable weather reduces the Saturday harvest, as was the case this year," said Eyler. "Sundays give hunters another chance to get out and put venison in the freezer and contribute to managing Maryland's deer population."
Young hunters enjoyed good weather during the Junior Firearm Deer Hunt this year. The mentored junior deer hunters bagged 2,050 deer, a 5 percent increase over a harvest of 1,961 deer last year. Junior hunters are reminded they may obtain an official DNR Junior Hunter Certificate for deer they harvest this year. The certificates are available from participating retail agents. Junior hunters can also have their picture posted on the DNR website by visiting http://www/dnr.state.md.us/huntersguide/Junior_Hunters/md_jr_hunter.asp .
Maryland's two-week late muzzleloader season opens Saturday, December 18 and closes on January 1, 2011.
Complete bag limits, season dates, Deer Management Region boundaries and other deer hunting information can be found on the DNR Website at www.dnr.maryland.gov/huntersguide . The 2010-2011 Maryland Guide to Hunting & Trapping issued with each hunting license contains detailed information about all of Maryland’s hunting seasons and includes tips on treestand safety (see page 24).