A doe – female deer – standing in a Delaware field. DNREC announced that does accounted for 55% of the 2021-22 deer season harvest /DNREC photo
While Harvest Numbers Decreased, Venison Donations Increased
Delaware hunters reported harvesting 15,383 deer during the 2021/22 hunting season, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. The harvest was 10.9% lower than the 2020/21 record harvest of 17,265 deer, but marked the ninth consecutive year that the Delaware harvest exceeded 14,000 deer. The smaller harvest could be attributable to various factors, including natural food availability, hunter effort or the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s management of the deer population to improve the quality of the herd and reduce agricultural crop damage.
Deer harvest highlights during the 2021/22 hunting season include:
- 6,350 deer were taken by hunters during the state’s popular 10-day November Shotgun Season, representing 41.3% of the total harvest
- 8,492 females (does) and 6,891 males (bucks) were harvested, respectively – representing 55.2% and 44.8% of the total harvest, with doe harvest crucial in helping manage the size and quality of Delaware’s deer population
- 70.9% of the total harvest consisted of antlerless deer – does, juvenile male deer without antlers commonly called button bucks, bucks with antlers measuring less than three inches, and bucks that had shed their antlers
- Harvest was highest in Sussex County with 8,622 deer, followed by Kent County where 4,334 were taken, and New Castle County with 2,427 deer harvested
- Zone 16 in southernmost Sussex County was the only wildlife management zone where the harvest increased, up slightly (1.6%) over 2020/21
- 86% of Delaware’s deer harvest occurred on private property and 14% on public lands
- 2,227 deer, representing 14.5% of the total harvest, were harvested on the 22 Sundays open to deer hunting on private lands and Division of Fish and Wildlife public wildlife areas.
Through the generosity of Delaware’s hunters and their donations of harvested deer to the Delaware Hunters Against Hunger program (formerly the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger program), the number of pounds of donated venison increased by 15% compared to the 2020/21 season, resulting in the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife providing 22 Delaware charities with 24,333 pounds of venison, equivalent to nearly 100,000 meals to distribute to individuals in need. The venison was processed by local butcher shops and the butcher shop at the Delaware Department of Corrections’ Sussex Community Corrections Center located in Georgetown.
More information on deer hunting and public wildlife areas can be found in the 2021/2022 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide or by calling the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife section at 302-739-9912. Information about the DNREC-sponsored Delaware Hunters Against Hunger program for donating venison can be found at dnrec.delaware.gov.
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.