Record deer harvest in Delaware during pandemic

The latest hunting season in Delaware yielded a record deer harvest. Delaware hunters registered 17,265 harvested deer for the 2020-21 season, beating last year’s record of 16,969. 

It was a record doe harvest, a record shotgun season, a record harvest on public lands and nine out of Delaware’s 18 Wildlife Management Zones had record harvests as well. 

Delaware’s Sportsmen Against Hunger Program was able to donate more than 84,000 venison meals this season.

“More hunters have been in the woods, I think, because of COVID. I think that gave more hunters the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors when normally they would be in the office,” said Steven Kendus, the Hunting and Conservation Chairman for the Delaware State Sportsman Association.

Kendus also points to new state regulations. 23% of the harvest was shot with newly allowed straight-walled pistol caliber rifles. 

“The use of rifles that can shoot pistol-caliber cartridges—that’s a recent development. I think that contributed to the overall harvest, as well as the use of crossbows by hunters,” he said.

About two-thirds of all deer harvested by archers were done so with a cross bow.          

The state also had Sundays open throughout the hunting season for a third consecutive year. 

DNREC says its biologists will continue to analyze the harvest data over the coming weeks, and more detailed information will be posted on the Division of Fish and Game website.

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