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Delaware 2010-11 deer season has third highest harvest

From the Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

-- For only the third time in history, Delaware hunters harvested more than 14,000 deer in a single season, with an actual total of 14,183 deer during the 2010-11 season.

The total harvest was a 14.4 percent above the 2009-10 season and ranks as the third highest harvest all time. Biologists attributed good hunting weather during the two segments of the state's whitetail season that are traditionally the most productive and heavily hunted with the increase.  
 
Of the total harvest, 28.1 percent were antlered deer and 71.8 percent were antlerless.  

Antlerless deer are classified as females, males with spiked antlers which are both shorter than three inches, juvenile males (button bucks) that do not have antlers, and bucks that had already shed both antlers. Of the total harvest, 53.5 percent were female deer and 46.5 percent were males.  
 
This year's total was 1,783 more deer than were taken in Delaware last year, with increased numbers readily apparent during the October muzzleloader and November shotgun seasons.  During the 2009-10 season two nor'easter storms struck the state, keeping hunters out of the woods and deer from moving around in them, resulting in a lower than normal harvest.  
 
"Unlike last season, we did not experience any major negative weather events during any of our productive deer seasons, which resulted in an overall increase in the harvest this past season," according to Joe Rogerson, deer and furbearer biologist. "The seasons impacted by weather during the 2009-10 season were the October muzzleloader and November shotgun seasons and the harvest this past year was up considerably during these two seasons but relatively stable during the other seasons.  This clearly shows that the nor'easters were a primary cause of the harvest decline during the 2009-10 season."
 
This past season marked the first time that hunters could use crossbows to harvest deer from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31 within the newly created crossbow season. This new season runs concurrently with the traditional archery season in which hunters can use compound, recurve, or longbows.  
 
"Although the season was new, Delaware hunters still managed to harvest 398 deer during the crossbow season, compared to 1,400 during the traditional archery season," Rogerson said. "When the harvest from the two seasons was combined, 1,798 deer were harvested which ranks as the all-time highest harvest for archery equipment, 116 more deer compared to the previous high of 1,682 deer taken during the 2008-09 archery season."

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