Deer Harvest Report Shows 5.8% Increase Over Previous Season

  • 31 August 2016
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Deer Harvest Report Shows 5.8% Increase Over Previous Season

RALEIGH, N.C. (Aug. 31, 2016) – During the 2015-2016 hunting season, hunters across the state reported harvesting 162,558 deer, a 5.8% increase over the previous season. Though the amount of deer harvested grew, it was 3.9% below the 10-year average.

“Although trends vary by county and region, the deer harvest appears to be pretty stable on a statewide scale,” said Jonathan Shaw, the Commission’s deer biologist. “Things have certainly rebounded a bit since 2014-2015, where we saw a decline in the statewide harvest.”

One contributor to the increased harvest was the expansion of hunting on private lands to Sundays. During the 2015-2016 season, deer harvested on Sundays accounted for 7.3 % of the total harvest.

Findings from the regional breakdown of the 2015-2016 harvest report include:

  • The coastal region harvest decreased from the previous season in all districts, including an 8.4% decline in District 1.
  • The piedmont region harvest increased in all districts, including a 16.3% increase in both Districts 3 and 5 where high levels of hemorrhagic disease activity contributed to depressed harvest during the 2014-2015 season.  
  • The mountain region saw an increase in harvest compared to the previous season in all districts, including a 33% increase in District 9. 

    “We’re happy to see the herd numbers improving on private lands in the mountains,” said Shaw. “We will continue to monitor harvest numbers in the coastal region and across the state to ensure deer numbers remain in balance with the habitat while still providing ample opportunity for hunters to see and harvest deer.”

    The Commission requests that hunters work in tandem with local biologists to monitor the deer population for potential threats. Although no instance of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected in North Carolina, it’s important to keep an eye out for deer who exhibit CWD symptoms, such as:
  • Low weight
  • Listlessness or showing little or no interest in their surroundings
  • Lack of coordination
  • Frequent lowering of the head
  • Walking in set patterns
  • Drooling and grinding of teeth
  • Drinking lots of water and increased urination

    These symptoms may also occur as a result of other common but less threatening diseases that are known to occur in the state. Testing of fresh tissue samples is needed to make those determinations. The Commission asks all hunters to immediately report sightings or harvests of sick deer to the Wildlife Management Division at 919-707-0050.

    For more information on deer hunting in North Carolina, visit
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