ANNAPOLIS — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced Dec. 1 that hunters harvested 19,571 deer during the early portion of the archery and muzzleloader seasons. The harvest was a 7% decrease from last year’s official harvest of 21,098 deer for the same period.
The early season harvest decline was attributed to warmer weather during muzzleloader season, and a reported increase in the occurrence of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in some counties. EHD occurs annually in Maryland and does not have long-lasting effects for the deer population, nor is it harmful to humans.
The two-month harvest included 13,420 deer taken during the archery season and 6,052 harvested during the October muzzleloader season. An additional 99 deer were reported during managed hunts. The archery harvest increased 13% while the muzzleloader harvest decreased 33% compared to the previous year. Hunters harvested 587 antlered and 650 antlerless sika deer as part of the total.
Hunters harvested 774 deer on Sundays that were open to archery hunting during the period, accounting for 6% of the total archery harvest.
In Caroline County, 155 antlered deer were reported harvested during the early season, up from 131 last year. Still the overall total was down by 3%, as only 342 antlerless deer were harvested, fewer than 2019’s total of 384.
The two-week season of firearms hunting for deer opened Nov. 28 and runs through Dec. 12.
The state also compiled the results of a recent survey on hunting in Maryland. “The survey provides a wealth of information that will help us improve delivery of our programs to hunters in Maryland,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said.
Some highlights of the survey include:
• 84% of hunters were very or somewhat satisfied with their Maryland hunting experience.
• White-tailed deer, followed by Canada geese, wild turkey, ducks, and squirrels were hunted most often.
• The average hunter spent nearly 30 days afield each year.
• The counties hunted most often were Baltimore, Carroll, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett and Kent.
• 72% of hunters wanted more Sunday hunting opportunities, including support from migratory bird hunters.
• 28% of hunters used Maryland Wildlife Management Areas and 67% were very or somewhat satisfied with their experience.
• Nearly 60% of respondents had taken a new hunter afield in the past five years, and 95% agreed that it was important to introduce new individuals to hunting.