Maryland’s deer firearm season opens with 7% increase in harvest

ANNAPOLIS — Hunters reported bagging 10,864 deer on the opening weekend of the 2023 Maryland firearm season, Nov. 25-26, according to data collected by the state Department of Natural Resources.

This is 7% higher than last year’s official opening weekend harvest of 10,159 deer.

The harvest included 5,617 antlered and 4,880 antlerless white-tailed deer, and 193 antlered and 174 antlerless sika deer.

Kent’s opening weekend white-tailed deer harvest of 536 topped all Eastern Shore counties, and was fifth statewide.

Queen Anne’s and Cecil totaled 504 and 377, respectively, according to the preliminary DNR data.

Frederick led the state with a white-tailed deer harvest of 1,290, followed by Carroll (1,193), Washington (796) and Garrett (723).

Dorchester’s total harvest was more than 600 — almost evenly split between white-tails (326) and sika (314).

On the lower Shore, hunters in Worcester reported taking 496 white-tails and eight sika deer.

In Wicomico, the preliminary count was 439 white-tailed deer and 42 sika deer.

The two-week deer firearm season runs through Saturday, Dec. 9.

“Cooler temperatures prevailed for the firearm season opener and hunters took advantage of the cooler weather to put additional venison in the freezer,” DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Karina Stonesifer said in a news release.

Hunters harvested 2,293 deer on the Sunday of the opening weekend, representing more than 20% of the total for the two days — despite not being open in all counties.

Hunters in Region A, which includes Allegany, Garrett and western Washington counties, harvested 1,323 antlered deer, a 16% increase.

Hunters in Region B, which is the rest of the state, harvested 4,487 antlered and 5,054 antlerless deer. The antlered harvest was up 9%, while the antlerless harvest increased 4% from last year in the region.

Junior hunters harvested 2,225 deer — 1,531 antlered and 694 antlerless deer — during the Junior hunt days of Nov. 11-12.

This is 8% higher than the official harvest of 2,063 last year.

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