North Carolina Deer Season 2012: Hunting Forecast

It should be a good year for deer hunting in North Carolina, as the only real deer "problem" here is that there's too many deer in some areas.

"The deer herd seem to be doing well, with no known serious problems impacting deer anywhere in the state," said Evin Stanford, deer biologist for North Carolina Wildlife Resources.

"Most of our state is on par with average or slightly above average rainfall so far this year," he continues. "That's a relief, since we've had rather dry years the past few years."

With this rainfall, Stanford rates deer forage as "average to above average throughout the state," and he expects a good and healthy fawn crop to begin showing itself this fall.

"The biggest concern we have is the population growth of deer herds in urban areas where land use patterns and local laws make hunting ineffective at controlling deer numbers. We do have an urban season that North Carolina cities can participate in if they wish to do so."

The Southern Regional Report
_It looks like this will be another strong season for southeastern deer hunters, with deer herds in good to very good condition. Deer populations are stable to slightly growing, and all states expected a strong fawn crop this year. The central south (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas) saw drought expand over the region as summer went forward. However, this part of the country did receive substantial spring and early-summer rains, which generated a good deal of forage, so deer went into the summer in pretty good condition.
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Top Trophy Zones
AR: Arkansas and Chicot counties.
FL: Alachua, Gadsden, and Jefferson counties.
LA: Avoyelles, Concordia, and East Feliciana parishes.
MS: Delta counties like Bolivar, Tallahatchie, and Yazoo are well represented in the record books. Outside of the Delta, Adams County has produced trophy bucks for the past 50 years, including the current state typical record, a 10-pointer killed in 2010 that netted an amazing 184 6⁄8.
OK: Osage and Coal counties. The latter is developing a reputation as a big-buck county, and that was only enhanced last year when 13-year-old Kelsey McKay shot a 200 7⁄8-inch monster non-typical. It is the largest buck ever taken in Coal, a county well represented in the state record books for both typical and non-typical whitetails.
SC: Orangeburg, Aiken, Fairfield, and Colleton counties.
TN: Cumberland and Van Buren counties, and the Tennessee sections of the U.S. Army's Fort Campbell Military Installation.
TX: Irion, Kennedy, Maverick, Tom Green, and Webb counties.Apparently, they don't wish to do so. The most recent urban deer season saw just 34 North Carolina cities participating, with only 70 deer taken in total. Last year, 30 cities were in the program, with a total harvest of 96 deer. With those numbers, North Carolina' suburban and urban deer herds won't be getting smaller any time soon. On the plus side, if more cities do sign up and promote the hunt, there could be a good deal of extra archery hunting available one day.

For a trophy deer, "Our highest quality bucks tend to come from the northern Piedmont Counties, and the foothill counties along the Yadkin/Pee Dee River corridor," Stanford notes.

The rut in North Carolina varies from mid-October in lower coastal plain areas to the last week in November as you head west into the state's mountainous region.