October 18, 2021

Harvested Deer Per Square Mile Data

Quality Deer Management annually collects deer data from state wildlife agencies and makes it available to anyone of interest. The 2013 Whitetail Report can be found on their website at this link.

There certainly are a lot of data that I think is safe to say reinforces the old adage that statistic prove that statistics can prove anything.

Due to a tip from a reader I began looking through the report with a bit of a focus on deer harvest by state per square mile. As is pointed out in the report, the harvest per square mile is not necessarily indicative of deer population per square mile. However, it is important to note that deer densities and hunting pressure influence the percentage of harvested deer per square mile.

Without having that information in hand, it is difficult to make too many conclusions from some of the data available but in doing a state by state or region by region comparison, I suppose one can see how your state is doing as compared to others in your region.

For example, in the Northeast Region we can look at both the number of antlered bucks harvest per square mile and the number of does. In the Northeast Region, 13 states, Maine has the lowest antlered buck harvest per square mile at 0.4. Maryland topped the list at 3.4 harvested antlered bucks per square mile.

Bearing in mind also in these calculations and any conclusions you might want to draw, that states vary in how tags might be allotted for both antlered bucks and does or antlerless deer. For instance, Maine has a 3 1/2 inch requirement for harvesting an antlered buck. In addition, to harvest a doe, an “Any-Deer” permit is issued via a lottery. With that permit a hunter can harvest any sex and age of deer, providing they are hunting a Wildlife Management District that’s not closed to hunting “Any Deer.”

When we examine doe harvest, Maine, once again, scrapes the bottom of the barrel at 0.2 does harvested per square mile. Maryland stands at 6.3.

I’m not sure what all this information tells us but there is one thing for sure. If your state has a numerous and healthy deer herd and you are not overrun with hunters, you should be in for a good time. On the flip side, whoa to the hunter that beats the brush looking for deer that don’t exist. It matters not how many hunters are in the field. If there’s no deer and continues to be no deer, fewer hunters will spend time hunting.

Most hunters have a pretty good understanding of their state’s deer herd and success rates.