DOVER – Hunters in Delaware harvested 14,883 deer during the 2018/19 hunting season, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announced today – the sixth year in a row that the state’s white-tailed deer harvest has exceeded 14,000 deer. This season’s harvest ranked as the second highest in Delaware’s history, exceeded only by last year’s (2017/18) harvest of 15,304 deer. Inclement weather limited the deer harvest during this past season’s opening weekend of the popular November deer shotgun season, which likely reduced the overall annual harvest.
The highest 2018/19 season harvest occurred in Sussex County, with a count of 7,735 deer, followed by Kent County with 4,299 deer taken, and New Castle County with a harvest of 2,849 deer. All Sundays during the various deer hunting seasons were open to deer hunting to provide additional hunting opportunities and to help manage the deer population, resulting in the harvest of 2,214 deer on these 23 Sundays from private lands and Division of Fish & Wildlife public wildlife areas.
Hunters harvested more female (doe) than male (buck) deer, consisting of 53.6 percent (7,982) does and 46.4 percent (6,901) bucks, with high doe harvest percentages an important tool for properly managing the size and quality of Delaware’s deer population. Antlerless deer – does, juvenile bucks without antlers known as button bucks, antlered bucks with antlers measuring less than three inches, and bucks that had already shed both of their antlers when harvested – represented 69.7 percent of the total harvest.
Additional and more detailed information will be made available on the Division of Fish & Wildlife website upon further analyses of the deer harvest data by division biologists.
For more information on deer hunting and management, contact the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912.