Whitetail Deer: Analyzing National Buck Harvest Rates
Over the past few years hunters in the U.S. and Canada hunters have taken just about 3 million bucks (1...
Over the past few years hunters in the U.S. and Canada hunters have taken just about 3 million bucks (1 ½ yr. or older) each and every year. That’s about 150 million pounds of venison or 600 million meals of steaks, chops, and assorted cuts of highly healthy venison. And that’s only the bucks. Throw in the doe harvest which for the past few years has easily bested the buck harvest by more 10 percent and you are looking at some pretty amazing numbers.
Texas hunters continue to rack up the most bucks with roughly 300,000 bucks per year; Michigan remains a distant second at around 200,000 while Wisconsin traditionally ranks third taking approximately 150,000 bucks per year.
By the Numbers**
Buck harvest data can also tell us something about herd quality which is often expressed as age. Three states from the southeast are doing a fine job of letting young bucks grow up before being taken. The top 3 states for harvesting 3 ½ year or better bucks in 2011 were Mississippi 70 percent, Arkansas 67 percent, and Louisiana 64 percent. Now those are some pretty fine statistics.
States taking the highest percentage of yearling bucks in 2011 were: New Jersey, 62 percent; Michigan, 59 percent; and Maryland, 57 percent. Lowest yearling harvest honors went to: Arkansas, 10 percent, Mississippi 13 percent; and Louisiana 18 percent. Looks like the folks down South have figured out the fine art of patience.
Another interesting way to look at buck harvest is bucks taken per square mile. The highest per square mile buck harvest rate reported was South Carolina at 3.6 bucks per square mile. Second was Maryland at 3.4 and third was West Virginia at 3.2 The lowest: North Dakota, .3; Maine, .4; and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas at .5. These numbers are highly impacted by deer density and hunter density as well.
These numbers are kindly provided courtesy of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) which goes through the trouble to survey each and every state wildlife agency in the U.S. and Canada each and every year. It’s nice to have somebody out there keeping an eye on all things deer.
For more interesting information on harvesting whitetails check out: Whitetails: from Ground to Gun at www.northcountrywhitetails.com.