LEWISBURG Hunter success in Wildlife Management Unit 4C, which includes the major portion of Carbon County, for the 2010-11 deer seasons exceeded the statewide results according to estimated deer totals released last week by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
In WMU 4C, hunters took 5,700 antlered deer, compared to 4,700 during the 2009-10 seasons, and they took 8.400 antlerless deer, compared to 7,200 the previous year. Statewide results show hunters took 122,930 antlered deer, a 13-percent increase from the previous year's 108,330, and 193,310 antlerless deer, a four-percent decrease from the previous year's 200,590.
Overall, in WMU 4C hunters took 14,100 deer, compared to 96,000 the previous year. Statewide, hunters took 316,240 deer for a two-percent increase from the previous year's 308,920.
At last week's spring conference of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, PGC executive director Carl Roe addressed several issues, including the agency's deer-management plan. He said the figures for the past season indicate the plan is on course.
"The 2010-11 antlered deer harvest of 122,930 is slightly above average based on when the Game Commission began to stabilize deer population trends in most of the state in 2005," Roe said. "Antlered deer harvests increased by 20 percent or more in Wildlife Management Units 2C, 2F, 2G, 3D, 4C, 4D and 5C.
"In fact, in WMUs 2C and 2G, the antlered harvest increased by 31 percent. The decrease in the antlerless harvest reflects the reduction in the number of antlerless deer licenses allocated for the 2010-11 seasons, as well as the shortened antlerless deer hunting opportunities in Wildlife Management Units 2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E.
"Given the reduced allocations and shortened antlerless deer seasons, a lower antlerless harvest was expected. Despite the reduced antlerless deer harvests, antlerless deer hunter success rates remained near 25 percent, and this is on average with harvest success rates for the last five years."
Bureau of Wildlife Management personnel currently are working to develop 2011 antlerless deer license allocation recommendations for the April meeting of the Board of Game Commissioners. Cal DuBrock, PGC Bureau of Wildlife Management director, said that in addition to harvest data, the staff will be looking at population trends, deer reproduction, forest regeneration, and deer-human conflicts for each WMU.
Harvest estimates for 2010-11 seasons are based on 111,630 usable harvest report cards (46,680 antlered; 64,950 antlerless) returned by hunters to the PGC, which included 62,684 reported by mail and 48,946 reported by the new online harvest reporting system. Reporting rates are determined by cross-referencing these report cards with the data collected from the 23,606 deer (8,461 antlered; 15,145 antlerless) examined by PGC personnel in the field and at processors.
DuBrock noted that reporting rates varied widely. For antlered deer, the average reporting rate was 38 percent (from a low of 31 percent to a high of 47 percent). For antlerless deer, the average reporting rate was 34 percent (from a low of 26 percent to a high of 46 percent).
For a full explanation of harvest estimating procedures, including example calculations, see pages 55 to 59 in the 2009-2018 Deer Management Plan. The plan is on the PGC website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) by clicking on the "White-Tailed Deer" icon in the center of the homepage and scrolling down to the "Deer Management" listing. All of the data used to estimate this year's deer harvests are included in the two tables at the end of this news release. Previous year's data sets also are available in deer program annual reports on the agency website.
Yearling bucks comprised 48 percent of the 2010-11 antlered harvest, and 2.5-year-old or older bucks comprised 52 percent. This year's harvest marks the highest percentage of 2.5-year-old or older bucks in the last 30 years. Since 2003, the percent of yearling bucks in the annual harvest has varied between 49 and 56 percent. Button bucks represented 23 percent of the antlerless harvest, which is similar to the long-term averages.