Photo by Matthew Doged
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported that deer hunters harvested 81,729 deer during the combined archery, firearms, and muzzleloader seasons, from Sept. 11, 2020 through Feb. 3, 2021.
The statewide harvest included 29,242 antlered and 49,033 antlerless white-tailed deer, plus 1,500 antlered and 1,954 antlerless sika deer. The harvest was 3% higher than the 2019-2020 total of 79,457 deer.
Hunters harvested more than 8,000 deer on Sundays, comprising 10% of the total harvest. Hunting deer on Sunday is only permitted during certain weeks in 20 of Maryland’s 23 counties.
Deer hunters took advantage of the new Primitive Deer Hunt, Feb. 1 – 3, and harvested 250 deer. A significant snow and ice storm affected the hunt days, but hunters still managed to harvest 42 deer with primitive bows and 208 deer with primitive muzzleloaders.
“Our deer population continues to be an invaluable resource for thousands of Marylanders,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Both consumptive and non-consumptive users enjoy deer, and the species generates millions of dollars in revenue for the state’s economy and for the conservation of Maryland’s other wildlife.”
The harvest in deer management Region A (Western Maryland) increased 10%, from 8,534 deer last year to 9,383 this year. Hunters in the western counties reported 5,470 antlered and 3,913 antlerless deer.
Hunters in Region B — the remainder of the state — harvested 72,346 deer, up 2% from 70,923 deer harvested last year. A total of 25,272 antlered and 47,074 antlerless deer were reported in this region.
Frederick County had the highest reported harvest again this year, with 7,342 deer reported. Carroll County followed with 6,202 deer, and Baltimore County was third with 5,356. Garrett and Washington counties rounded out the top five with 4,904 and 4,712 deer, respectively.
Counties in southern Maryland experienced significant harvest declines for the season, primarily due to an outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in several southern Maryland Counties. EHD is common in Maryland and varies annually in location and severity. The 2020 outbreak is not expected to have long-term consequences for the local deer population.