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October 16, 2001


For more information contact:
Dan Ferrigno at 609-259-8692

Deer project personnel completed a survey of 82 deer check stations in order to estimate preliminary deer harvest estimates for the 2001 early fall bow season (September 8 - 28, 2001) and statewide opener (September 29, 2001). Bow hunters got off to a great start by harvesting an estimated 4,777 deer during the period from September 8 through September 29 (inclusive).

2001 Early Fall Bow Season

Two-thirds of the total or 3,246 deer were taken during the early fall bow season which ran from September 8-28, 2001. Fifteen agricultural and suburban zones (zones 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 36, 41, 42, 49, 50 & 51) were open but only antlerless deer (adult female and young of the year) were fair game. (Click for map.) The early, antlerless-only season was authorized to give hunters a chance to satisfy their earn-a-buck requirement prior to the traditional opening day of the fall bow season. About 15,000 bow hunters took advantage of the early season and harvested 3,246 deer. During a similar period last year, bow hunters took 3,760 antlerless deer from the same areas.

Statewide Opening Day

The traditional, statewide opening of the fall bow season took place on Saturday, September 29, 2001. It is estimated that statewide, bow hunters harvested some 1,531 white-tailed deer. In comparison, the 2000 statewide opener saw 1,770 deer taken. Bow hunters are making an important contribution to reducing deer populations in agricultural and suburban areas. These early results should be very encouraging to farmers and sportsmen alike. Shifting hunting pressure from anltered bucks to antlerless deer will result in reduced damage to agriculture as well as older and bigger bucks in the future.

The fall bow season not only provides recreation to approximately 50,000 bow hunters but also contributes to deer population management since it allows for the taking of antlerless deer. By harvesting a sufficient number of antlerless deer in each zone, populations are maintained in a healthy condition and at levels that minimize conflicts between deer and people. This is particularly important in areas with a high incidence of agricultural damage and deer-vehicle collisions. This year's population management objective is to decrease the deer herd on 75 percent of the deer range, stabilize the herd on 21 percent of the range, and increase it on 4 percent of the range. Deer herds will be allowed to increase only in zone 24, which contains mostly public land and has limited agriculture and minimal potential for deer-human conflicts.

Harvest graph
The 2001 preliminary bow harvest estimate demonstrates that deer harvests and hunting opportunities have increased as a result of the Fish and Game Council's authorization to reduce deer populations on three-quarters of the deer range. However, continued progress toward controlling deer herds will rely on hunters obtainingaccess to all lands where deer can be effectively hunted.