Maryland's deer harvest maintains consistency

December 23, 2007|By BILL ANDERSON

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has released the harvest totals for the recently completed two-week firearms season. Despite a relatively slow start on opening weekend in some counties, the statewide kill for the two-week season was nearly identical to past seasons.

The unofficial, two-week total was 44,805, compared to 44,313 last year. That is about as consistent as it gets. The final number will go up slightly as Maryland does offer some hunting into January of the new year that will be added.

If anything, the numbers once again show that the state's deer herd is relatively stable in most counties. This is very different than the numbers in West Virginia, which have varied greatly over the same period.

The kill total for the firearms seasons in Maryland was 45,070 in 2005, 44,266 in 2004 and 48,988 in 2003.

The key point is that the trend is stable, and the numbers indicate that the state's deer herd is being managed in a way to control the growth of the overall herd. The number of deer killed in most counties has been very consistent for the past five to seven seasons.


This fall, Washington County was once again the leading county with a total harvest of 4,762, compared to 4,802 deer taken last fall. The breakdown was 1,780 bucks and 2,982 antlerless deer.

Frederick County was second with 3,712. The only other county topping the 3,000 mark was Worcester with 3,123. Washington County continues to be the state's major deer producer.

The firearms season total for Region 'A' (Allegany and Garrett counties) continues to be be down over previous seasons. The total for the region was 4,582, down just a little from 4,637 last season. The deer herd in the two western-most counties has been down the past few years, and based on the 2007 harvest, does not seem to be back to the levels of a few years ago. This trend has been a matter of concern to many Western Maryland hunters.

A lot of issues factor into the managing of the state's deer population. It is anything but an exact science, but if you track the numbers, it appears from a statewide perspective that Maryland's deer herd has been extremely consistent over the past five to seven years. About the only negative is the lower harvest totals in Allegany and Garrett counties and those numbers appear to stable, if not increasing.

Bill Anderson writes a weekly outdoors column for The Herald-Mail.

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