Maryland hunters harvested slightly less deer than last year during the combined archery, muzzleloader and firearm seasons (Sept. 11, 2015 through Jan. 30, 2016), according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The harvest of 84,022 deer represents a 3 percent decrease from last year’s total of 86,883. Biologists attribute the slight decline to reduced deer numbers in some rural areas and poor weather conditions, which impeded hunting.
“Increasing hunting opportunities through extended seasons and Sunday hunting is helping to bring Maryland’s deer herd down to more appropriate levels in some of our rural areas,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “We will continue to monitor the population closely and work to find solutions for less-rural areas across the state.”
The 2015-2016 statewide harvest included: 28,619 antlered and 52,476 antlerless white-tailed deer; and 1,236 antlered and 1,691 antlerless sika deer.
The harvest in deer management Region A (Garrett, Allegany and western Washington counties) increased 5 percent, from 8,740 deer last year to 9,190 this year. These hunters reported 5,493 antlered and 3,697 antlerless deer.
Hunters in Region B (the remainder of the state) harvested 74,832 deer, down 4 percent from last year’s 78,143. Additionally, 24,362 antlered and 50,470 antlerless deer were harvested in this area.
Frederick County led the harvest totals again this year with 7,149 deer, followed by Washington County with 5,282 and Carroll County at 5,238. Baltimore and Montgomery counties rounded out the top five with 4,970 and 4,744 deer, respectively.
Included in the statewide total were 6,447 deer taken on the Sundays open for deer hunting.
“Sunday hunting remains an important tool for managing our deer population, particularly when poor weather negatively impacts hunting opportunities on popular Saturdays,” Peditto said. “The harvest of nearly eight percent of the total is even more remarkable considering some counties only have two Sundays to hunt, and three counties with very high deer densities have no Sunday hunting at all.”
Questions about this year’s harvest may be directed to the Wildlife and Heritage Service at 410-260-8540.