Delaware hunters harvested 13,559 deer during the 2011-12 season, a 4.4 percent drop from the previous season’s 14,183, but well within the harvest totals for the past five years, the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife announced today. The 2011-12 deer harvest ranks as the seventh all-time highest deer harvest for Delaware.
“We expected the harvest to be lower this season compared to last year. Two years ago, Delaware experienced two major nor’easter storms during the October muzzleloader and November shotgun seasons, significantly impacting hunting success and bringing the 2009-10 season’s overall harvest numbers down,” said Deer and Furbearer Biologist Joe Rogerson, Division of Fish and Wildlife. “As a result, more deer were available to hunters during the 2010-11 season, and harvest numbers rose to the third all-time highest level. This season, the deer population returned to levels similar to those before the 2009-10 season and so did the harvest numbers.”
During the 2011-12 season, hunters harvested more does than bucks, with 52 percent female (7,054) and 48 percent male (6,505). Antlerless deer, comprising as a group females, juvenile bucks without antlers (button bucks), and bucks with antlers both measuring less than three inches, represented 70.9 percent of the total harvest.
“The November shotgun season remains the most productive and popular season with hunters. This year, 6,144 deer were harvested during the November shotgun season,” said Rogerson. “Delaware’s deer season is five months long, with the archery season opening on Sept. 1 and closing on Jan. 31, and it still amazes me that nearly 50 percent of the total harvest occurs during the eight-day November shotgun season. None of our other seasons produce nearly as many deer harvested as the November shotgun season.”
The 2010-11 season was the first year for Delaware’s five-month-long crossbow season, and hunters harvested 398 deer. This year, 516 deer were taken with crossbows, a 29.6 percent increase. When combined with the harvest from vertical bows (compound, recurve and longbows), the total archery harvest was 1,653 deer, ranking as the third highest archery harvest ever.
For more information about the Delaware deer harvest or any other deer-related issue, please contact Joe Rogerson at 302-735-3600 or visit the Division’s white-tailed deer information page at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/DeerInfo.aspx .