Michael A. Sawyers
CUMBERLAND — The buck harvest increased in Allegany County during the recent firearms deer season, but declined in Garrett County, according to the Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service.
In Allegany, hunters checked in 1,055 bucks during the two-week season and 84 during the junior hunt for a total of 1,139. A year ago the total was 1,000.
Allegany’s doe harvest was higher as well this year, 721 compared to 611.
Garrett County hunters killed 989 bucks during the firearms season and 159 during the junior hunt for a total of 1,148, whereas the 2012 total was 1,328.
The antlerless or doe harvest was down as well this year, 821 compared to 861.
“I’m not sure what to think about Garrett County,” said Deer Project Leader Brian Eyler.
“The weather likely played a role. One theory is that the blowdowns from Tropical Storm Sandy in 2012 have made some areas more difficult to hunt.”
Eyler said, also, that hunters choosing to pass up small bucks may be lowering the harvest there.
“We’re not concerned about the deer being in trouble in Garrett and we don’t plan any significant changes to the hunting regulations,” Eyler said.
The biologist added, however, that agency officials would continue to discuss a possible antler-point restriction desired by some hunters for Garrett County.
The statewide deer harvest for the rifle season increased by 2 percent from a year ago, and includes 982 Sika deer from the Eastern Shore.
“Considering all deer hunting that has taken place to date, including archery and muzzleloader, the harvest in the state is higher by 9 percent,” Eyler said.
The most firearms season bucks were taken in Washington County, 1,251.
Next was Frederick County with 1,213, followed by Allegany County.
The county with the smallest buck harvest was Calvert with 236.
This spring, the agency will establish deer hunting regulations for the next two years. The process includes meeting with interested parties to finalize the proposed regulations, followed by public meetings for additional discussion.
Dates and locations for the public meetings have not yet been established.
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at email@example.com.