The National Deer Association’s 2024 Deer Report is hot off the digital press, and let’s get right to the meat of it.

Hunters across America are shooting more mature bucks than ever. In 2022-23, 42% of the bucks shot across North America were 3½ years or older. One out of every three bucks shot in the U.S. today is at least 3½!

Mississippi hunters get the gold star for holding out for a big deer; a whopping 80% of bucks shot in the Magnolia State are 3.5 years or older.

How many people kill a deer each year? The NDA crunched the numbers and found that 41% of hunters across the U.S. tagged at least one animal in 2022-23.

The Southeast once again led the country–56% of hunters below the Mason-Dixon shot at least one deer. The Midwest was next–40% of hunters were successful. It’s hardest to shoot a deer in the Northeast region, where only 33% of hunters scored.

In 2022-23, hunters across America shot 2,958,432 bucks, the fourth highest buck kill in the past 10 hunting seasons.

The Top 5 states for buck harvest: Texas (377,393 bucks); Michigan (203,704); Pennsylvania (164,190); Wisconsin (163,806); and Missouri (140,735). That’s a trend, since those states were the top five last year too.

Across America, the doe harvest was 3,001,563 animals. It’s only the second time the antlerless harvest has topped 3 million in the last 10 years. The Big 3 states for doe harvest: Texas (303,277); Pennsylvania (258,770); and Wisconsin (176,476).

Top state for percentage of the deer harvest by archery (both vertical and crossbow): New Jersey, 65%.

Top state for deer killed with a muzzleloader: Rhode Island, 42%.

Top state for deer shot with a centerfire rifle: Wyoming, 94%.

New in the NDA report this year: The use of drones for scouting deer is legal in 11 states, and drones are legal for recovering dead or wounded deer in 13 states. Check your regulations.

Despite drought conditions in many areas last summer, it was a surprisingly low year for Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). Only small and confined outbreaks of EHD were reported in the Midwest.

On the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) front, researchers at Mississippi State and the University of Minnesota pioneered a new way to detect CWD prions at scrape sites. Scientists should now be able to test scrape dirt for the disease without having to pull samples from live or dead deer.

Click here for a free download of the 2024 Deer Report. While you’re at it sign up and become a member of the NDA.