March 15, 2021

Did you ever wonder to yourself, “What are the whitetail deer harvest numbers in the surrounding states?” Well, I am not sure about you, but I know I have. The issue I found is, I end up having a bunch of webpages up, then I have to dig through each state’s DNR websites. Some of the information is a lot easier to find than others.

I wanted to make it easier for everyone, so here is all the information for Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia; all conveniently located on one page.

State

2018-2019

2019-2020

2020-2021

Pennsylvania*

374,690

389,431

-----

Ohio

172,040

184,465

197,735

New York*

227,787

224,190

-----

West Virginia

108,856

99,347

106,861

Maryland

77,382

79,457

-----

Virginia

190,636

206,976

208,131

                                         Total Harvest Reports
                                         *Estimated Harvests

Pennsylvania: Unfortunately, Pennsylvania is still in the stone age with their tagging and harvest reporting. Unlike other states that require the deer to be reported before moving the animal, PA requires deer to be reported within 10 days. Because of this big gap, I personally feel that some hunters truly just forget to report their harvest, and this causes a delay for the PA Game Commission to get accurate numbers.

Since there is usually a delay, we will have to wait for the 2020-2021 results a little bit longer. We can look at the 2019-2020 estimated harvest report in the meantime. There was a total of 163,240 estimated antlered deer taken and 226,191 antlerless deer taken. These numbers were up 4% from the 2018-2019 season. If you would like to dig into the numbers more, here is the link: 2019-20 Deer Harvest Estimates Report (pa.gov)

 

Ohio: Ohio does a nice job breaking down the number of harvests per county, and whether the deer was taken with archery equipment or a rifle. The ODNR also updates the harvest report weekly, so it is very convenient to track how successful hunters were during rut, early season, gun season, etc. 

Comparing the 2020-2021 season to the 2019-2020 season, Ohio harvested around 13,000 less deer than the previous year. There were 3,000 less antlered deer taken and 10,000 less antlerless deer. This past season, there were 77,025 Antlered Deer and 107,440 Antlerless Deer taken. If you would like to dive into more of the numbers, here is the link: Deer Harvest Summary | Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ohiodnr.gov)

 

New York: New York is similar to Pennsylvania’s law; the hunter is required to submit their harvest within 7 days. Does this actually work? If it did, hunters would not have to wait to see results that should be automatically posted and the word “estimated” would not have to be added to the report.

I was unable to find out when the 2020-2021 report will be posted, but here is a look at the 2019-2020 estimated harvest report. There was a total of 224,190 deer taken in the 2019 season. Of those, an estimated 120,403 were antlered and 103,787 were antlerless. If you are interested in the full report, New York does a nice job breaking down the numbers by season, location, and tag type. The full report is posted here: 2019 New York State White-tailed Deer Harvest Summary (ny.gov)

 

West Virginia: The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources posted the results of the 2020-2021 season this month. I was shocked to see how many fewer deer are harvested in West Virginia compared to PA, OH, and NY, but it was 7.5% higher than the 2019 harvest. Although the season was more successful for hunters this year, it was still 6% lower than the five-year average.

West Virginia breaks down their harvest report by season (buck firearms, antlerless, muzzleloader, archery, and mountaineer heritage). They do not break down the amount of antler vs antlerless deer taken in archery or muzzleloader so it is a little harder to compare the results to other states. In the 2020-2021 season, a total of 106,861 deer were taken. If you would like to see the breakdown for each season, here is the link: West_Virginia_hunters_harvest_106_861_deer_in_fall_2020_and_January_2021_020521.pdf (wboy.com)

 

Maryland: Maryland is at the bottom of the list for deer harvest rates (out of the ones compared in this blog). Low harvest rates are not a big surprise because of the big cities and the dense population of people in the Maryland. Although it is a little tougher to find places to hunt, there are a lot of deer in the state. The eastern shore has plenty of opportunity to bag a Sika deer and the western part of the state is right in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains, where the whitetail can thrive.

The harvest rates are still not available for the 2020-2021 season, which I think is odd because the hunter must report a harvest before they move the deer (Like Ohio). Because of this reporting, there should be better "real-time" data.

Maryland breaks down their harvest rate into antlered or antlerless and whitetail and sika deer. In the 2019-2020 season, a total of 79,457 deer were taken, but only 76,010 were whitetail. If you would like to dig deeper into Maryland’s harvest rates last year, here is the link: Maryland Hunters Harvest nearly 80,000 Deer during 2019-2020 Season

 

Virginia: Virginia hit third on the list.  I was really surprised to see the harvest rate so high in Virginia, especially that they surpassed Ohio. This may be because I lived in Maryland for a few years and the only part of Virginia I knew was near Washington DC.

Virginia ended the season with a 1% higher harvest rate than the previous year. An interesting stat that the state included was that 1,117 bucks lost their antlers prior to harvest. I would be curious to see if they were harvested late in the season or if they lost their antlers early in the season. In total, the 2020-2021 season produced a total of 208,131 deer. Virginia separates their harvest rates by county, so if you would like to dive in more, here is the link: 2020–2021 Deer Kill Summary | Virginia DWR



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