Regional Deer Forecast 2004
We give you a state-by-state look at what to expect this season.
As autumn draws near, sportsmen throughout the East are turning their attention to the majestic whitetail deer. And this year, as in the past few, they should be in store for some awesome hunting opportunities. Although some northern states are seeing lower numbers in places as a result of winter mortality, whitetails are thriving in much of the region. As a result, wildlife officials have maintained or expanded doe-hunting opportunities in many areas in an effort to reduce deer numbers. Some states also look for their buck harvests to increase this year, which is even more exciting news.
Whether you’re interested in exploring the forests of central Maine in search of a big buck or pursuing wily whitetails in the suburban woodlots surrounding Baltimore and Philadelphia, there should be ample opportunity to put some venison in the freezer and perhaps a rack on the wall.
Connecticut | Delaware | [Maine](https://www.outdoorlife.com/outdoor/hunting/article/0/,19912,696300 ,00.html) | Maryland | Massachusetts | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New York | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | Vermont | West Virginia
The general consensus among Southern deer specialists is that more does need to be killed to manage the herds and grow larger bucks. As a result, many states are jumping on the quality deer management bandwagon by implementing stricter guidelines for shooting bucks. In states where QDM practices have already been enforced, hunters are pleased with the results. More big bucks are being harvested than ever before. Overall, Dixie hunters should expect only a few changes from last season, notably more opportunities to shoot antlerless deer and extended bow seasons in some states.
[Alabama](https://www.outdoorlife.com/outdoor/hunting/article/0/,19912,696317 ,00.html) | Arkansas | Florida | Georgia | Kentucky | [Louisiana](https://www.outdoorlife.com/outdoor/hunting/article/0/,19912,696324 ,00.html) | Mississippi | North Carolina | South Carolina | Tennessee | Texas | Virginia
Last season saw a number of record deer harvests throughout the Midwest, and 2004 should be every bit as good. But to get deer populations down, more game agencies want you to take a doe, or even two. At the extreme end of this management philosophy is Wisconsin, with its Earn-a-Buck program in about one-third of its hunting units. Hunters must bag an antlerless deer before taking a buck.
Will other states follow suit? Only time, deer populations and hunters’ willingness to harvest does will tell.
Deer hunters can expect a fair to good season this fall, although long-term effects from the persistent drought will be apparent throughout much of the region. Because of poor fawn survival in the hardest-hit areas, deer will be slow to increase their numbers. On a brighter note, substantial spring rains are bringing relief to the parched range in many areas.