North Carolina’s 2021-22 deer harvest summaries now available

RALEIGH — Results from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission’s annual deer harvest summary indicate hunters across the state reported harvesting 168,427 deer during the 2021-22 hunting season — a 6.3% increase compared to the average harvest the last three seasons.

Of the deer harvested, 53% were antlered bucks, 4.4% were button bucks and 42.6% were does. Most deer were harvested with a gun (76.4 %), followed by blackpowder (9.7%), bow (7.8%) and crossbow (6.1%).

Deer harvests increased in all zones (Deer Zone Map), compared to the three-year average. In the Western Zone, deer harvests increased by 9%; 0.8% in the Northwestern Zone; 7.4% in the Central Zone; 3.4% in the Northeastern Zone; and 12% in the Southeastern Zone.

The 2021-22 deer hunting season maintained a robust harvest, nearly as high as the 2020-21 season (169,973 deer). Increased harvest in 2020 was largely attributed to increased hunting effort due to the pandemic, the 2021-22 season maintained a similar harvest intensity across the state even as pandemic effects stabilized.

“It was unclear whether the 2020 increase in hunting participation and harvest was temporary, but the 2021 deer harvest shows a maintained deer harvest indicative of a strong deer population and hunting tradition,” said Moriah Boggess, deer biologist for the Wildlife Commission. “This is encouraging from a deer herd and hunter retention standpoint.”

The Wildlife Commission posts annual harvest summaries on its website, as well as live harvest reports, which are available anytime throughout the hunting season. For more information, visit the Wildlife Commission’s white-tailed deer page.