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Delaware's 2011-12 deer harvest down slightly from last season

From Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources & Environmental Control

-- 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 deer harvest ranks is the seventh all-time highest deer harvest for the state.

“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,“ according to Joe Rogerson, deer and furbearer biologist. “As a result, more deer were available to hunters and harvest numbers rose to the third all-time highest level. The deer population returned to levels similar to those before the 2009-10 season. So did harvest numbers.”

During the 2011-12 season, hunters harvested more does than bucks, with 52 percent female (7,054 does) and 48 percent male (6,505 bucks). Antlerless deer, comprising as a group females, juvenile bucks without antlers 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 Sept. 1 and closing Jan. 31, and it amazes me nearly 50 percent of the total harvest occurs during the eight-day November shotgun season. None of our other seasons produce as many deer harvested as the November shotgun season.”

The 2010-11 season was the first year for Delaware’s five month 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, call Rogerson at (302)735-3600 or visit the white-tailed deer information page at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/DeerInfo.aspx.

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