The National Deer Association (NDA) reports that hunters across the United States killed an estimated 3,041,544 bucks in the 2020-21 season, the most in 21 years.
“2020 saw the highest buck harvest in the new century, and amazingly we estimate that we set another new record for the percentage of those bucks that were 3½ years old or older,” said Kip Adams, NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer. “U.S. hunters are taking fewer yearling bucks and killing more of them as mature deer, but this doesn’t mean fewer bucks harvested overall. We’re killing older bucks and more bucks than ever in America.”
Nationally, the antlerless harvest (does and buck fawns) jumped 12% in 2020-21 to 3,207,937, reversing a three-year decline and putting the number back above 3 million for the first time since 2013. The antlerless harvest estimates also climbed above the antlered buck harvest for the first time since 2016.
“We know 2020 hunting license sales increased by about 5% over 2019, and those license buyers took home half a million more whitetails than the previous season, or an increase of almost 9%,” said Adams. “They helped increase the antlerless harvest back above the buck harvest where it needs to be, but they also saw more mature bucks in the woods than ever before. Hunters are clearly reaping the benefits of more naturally balanced age structures in herds across the whitetail’s range.”
In short, it’s a good time to be a deer hunter in America!
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