Delaware hunters harvest 15,000 deer, donate 100,000 meals

Charlie Megginson Government, Headlines

a deer in a grassy field

Delaware hunters harvested 15,383 deer during the 2021-2022 hunting season and donated 24,333 pounds of venison to charity.

Although the harvest was 10.9% lower than the 2020-2021 record harvest of 17,265 deer, the venison donation marked a 15% increase year over year. 

That resulted in the provision of more than 100,000 meals to individuals and families in need.

The most recent season marked the state’s ninth consecutive with a harvest greater than 14,000 deer. 

According to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, 2021-2022’s smaller harvest could be attributable to a number of factors, including natural food availability, hunter effort or the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s management of the deer population to improve herd quality and reduce agricultural crop damage.

Harvest highlights include:
  • 6,350 deer were taken by hunters during the state’s 10-day November shotgun season, representing 41.3% of the total harvest.
  • 8,492 females (does) and 6,891 males (bucks) were harvested, representing 55.2% and 44.8% of the total harvest respectively, “with doe harvest crucial in helping manage the size and quality of Delaware’s deer population,” DNREC said.
  • 70.9% of the total harvest consisted of antlerless deer, including does, juvenile male deer without antlers commonly called button bucks, bucks with antlers measuring less than three inches, and bucks that had shed their antlers.
  • Harvest was highest in Sussex County with 8,622 deer, followed by Kent County where 4,334 were harvested, and New Castle County with 2,427 deer harvested.
  • Zone 16 in southernmost Sussex County was the only wildlife management zone where the harvest increased, up slightly (1.6%) over 2020/21.
  • 86% of Delaware’s deer harvest occurred on private property and 14% on public lands.
  • 2,227 deer, representing 14.5% of the total harvest, were harvested on the 22 Sundays open to deer hunting on private lands and Division of Fish and Wildlife public wildlife areas.

More information on deer hunting and public wildlife areas can be found in the Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide.

Information about the DNREC-sponsored Delaware Hunters Against Hunger program for donating venison can be found at this link.

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