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Another good year is expected on the heels of last season’s 18 percent increase in the harvest totals, especially with hunters continuing to take advantage of antlerless opportunities.

More than 61 percent of the 484,000 deer killed last year were does, a 14 percent increase from the previous season. Buck harvest rose by 25 percent to 188,000, but with 10 antlerless deer allowed this year (along with two bucks), numbers should continue to increase.

“The buck increase was because we were in the second year of antler restrictions,” says state whitetail leader Kent Kammermeyer. “One of the two bucks hunters may kill must have at least four points on one side. Also, in autumn of 2002 we had a tremendous amount of rain, and that depressed the antlered buck kill.”

Head to the Piedmont region, which produced more than half of all the deer killed in the state, including 165,400 does. Two Boone and Crockett bucks were killed in Hancock County last season, the first book deer recorded there. Hancock has about 35 deer per square mile, according to Kammermeyer, and is one of nine QDM counties in which both bucks a hunter may kill must have four points or better on each side.

The southwestern Flint and Chattahoochee river drainages are traditionally strong areas, with county QDM restrictions assisting fertile soils and Wisconsin-strain genetics.

Contact: Department of Natural Resources (770-918-6400; www .gadnr.org).

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