The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) has released its 12th annual Whitetail Report, a comprehensive update on the status of white-tailed deer including harvest trends through the 2018-19 season, the most recent hunting season with complete deer harvest data available from most whitetail states and Canadian provinces.

In 2018-19, the total national buck harvest was 2,908,155. For comparison, the modern record buck harvest of 3.1 million was set in 1999.

The big news is that across the U.S. and Canada in 2018-19, the percentage of yearling bucks (1½ years old) in the total antlered buck harvest fell to 30%, the lowest ever recorded.

“The fact that less than 1 in 3 antlered bucks shot today is 1½ years old is amazing,” said Kip Adams, QDMA Director of Conservation. “The result is that deer populations are more socially balanced, and hunters are seeing and harvesting more adult bucks. The average percentage of the buck harvest that was 3½ years old or older was 37% in 2018, which is by far the highest percentage ever reported.”

Other highlights:

  • The Southeast’s 2018-19 buck harvest was 5% above its 5-year average, the Northeast’s was up 3%, and the Midwest’s was 5% above its 5-year average.
  • In 2018, Arkansas averaged the fewest yearlings (9%) of the antlered buck harvest and Wisconsin reported the most (53% of antlered buck harvest)
  • Texas had the highest total buck harvest at 508,000.
  • Rhode Island hunters shot the fewest bucks, 994
  • Michigan hunters killed the most bucks per square mile, at 3.7
  • South Carolina killed the most bucks per 100 deer hunters, at 79.
  • 66 percent of deer taken in the 2018-19 season were killed with a firearm compared to 23 percent with a bow and 10 percent with a muzzleloader

QDMA’s 2020 Whitetail Report is chock full of interesting data, click here to download your free copy.