Bow hunters in Frederick County took more than double the number of deer this year compared with last year for the opening weekend of archery season for white-tailed deer, according to the Department of Natural Resources.
The state agency recorded 124 deer killed in Frederick County on Friday and Saturday, up from 55 taken by hunters countywide last year. This year’s opening harvest included 46 antlered and 78 antlerless white-tailed deer. The season also includes sika deer, but the exotic Asian elk species was introduced to the Eastern Shore in 1916 and does not currently range beyond the lower Eastern Shore.
Harvest totals were up in general across the state, which recorded 1,545 deer taken this year compared with just 791 last year, with the good weather likely playing a big role in the boost.
“The increase wasn’t really a surprise because it was beautiful weather-wise, nice and cool with clear skies,” said Brian Eyler, the deer project leader with DNR’s Wildlife and Heritage Service. “We also have a really healthy deer herd, especially in regions like Frederick.”
Frederick County typically ranks highly when natural resources tallies deer harvest totals across the state, but bow hunters in Baltimore and Carroll counties outperformed those in Frederick County this past weekend, reporting 204 and 131 deer kills, respectively, according to Eyler’s data.
The archery season was the first of the three seasons for white-tailed and sika deer to open across the state and will remain open through Jan. 31. The muzzleloader season opens Oct. 17 and runs through Oct. 19 and opens again from Dec. 21 through Jan. 4, while the firearms season — the most popular among hunters — will be open Nov. 30 through Dec. 14 and again from Jan. 10 to Jan. 12 in Region B, which includes Frederick County.
The statewide bag limit for white-tailed bucks remained at two deer — no more than one per weapon season — with a third allowance for an antlered white-tailed deer available to hunters in Region B as a bonus, according to the Department of Natural Resources website. The limit for antlerless deer in Region B is 15.
Hunters were encouraged to donate deer to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, a nationwide faith-based charitable organization that provides the meat not wanted by hunters to people in need. Last year, the program provided more than 650,000 venison meals to community food banks and other efforts, according to the Department of Natural Resources.