Preliminary Opening Day Firearm Deer Harvest Numbers Up Seven Percent Over Last Year

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Preliminary reports on the opening day of the firearms deer season, collected from check stations by Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife and Heritage Service staff, show that hunters took 15,473 deer, up seven percent from last year's preliminary opening day numbers.

"While heavy snowfall, wind and rain conditions in the westernmost counties hampered hunters there, many of the suburban counties showed increases this year," said DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto.

Harvest on the lower Eastern Shore appears to be down as a result of mortality due to an outbreak of Hemorraghic Disease, a disease that does not affect people but has been seen in deer populations in various parts of the state and the region for more than a decade.

Maryland's Deer Management Plan, which has increased harvest of antlerless deer, has successfully slowed or reversed the growth of the deer population in many rural parts of the state.

Because hunters are not required to check deer in the county in which they are taken, these preliminary numbers are subject to change. The final deer harvest analysis will be conducted at the close of all deer hunting seasons, using final harvest numbers.