DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife announces 2018/19 deer hunting harvest ranks as state’s 2nd all-time highest

A white-tailed doe/USFWS photo

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.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 116

Think twice before ‘rescuing’ young wildlife

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife recommends, ‘If you care, leave them there’

DOVER – Whether in their own backyards or while taking a walk outdoors, Delawareans are likely to encounter young wildlife this time of year. While some young animals appear to be abandoned, usually they are not. In most cases, their mothers are watching over them somewhere nearby and waiting for you to move on. The Division of Fish & Wildlife reminds well-meaning Delawareans that when encountering young wildlife, regardless of species, the best thing you can do is to leave the animals alone.

Many wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, leave their young while they forage for food, visiting the young only a few times a day. This tactic, in addition to the young’s natural instinct to lay quietly while waiting for its parent to return, actually helps protect the young from predators by drawing less attention to them.

Removing or handling wildlife in any way can be harmful to both humans and wildlife. Precautions to take with both juvenile and adult wild animals include:If you see a young wild animal alone, watch from a distance to see if its mother returns, which could take several hours.

  • Be aware that wild animals can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, especially if they are in pain.
  • Wild animals can carry parasites or diseases that can affect you or your pets, such as fleas, ticks, or rabies.
  • Remember that it is illegal to raise or keep any wild animal in Delaware.

If a young wild animal appears injured or you are certain its parent is dead, please contact the Division of Fish & Wildlife during business hours Monday-Friday at 302-739-9912, or after hours and weekends at 800-523-3336, to determine the appropriate course of action, not only for your own safety, but also to help ensure the best possible outcome for the wild animal. Taking a wild animal from the wild is almost certainly ensuring it will not survive, so DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife advises, “If you care, leave them there.”

Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 48, No. 141