HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Game Commission today reported that hunters harvested an estimated 316,240 deer in the state’s 2010-11 seasons, which is an increase of two percent from the previous seasons’ harvest of 308,920.
Hunters took 122,930 antlered deer in the 2010-11 seasons, an increase of 13 percent from the previous license year’s harvest of 108,330.  Also, hunters harvested 193,310 antlerless deer in 2010-11, which is a decrease of four percent from the 200,590 antlerless deer taken in 2009-10.
“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,” said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director.  “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.”
Roe noted that 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 eight Wildlife Management Units.  Those WMUs were: 2C, 2D, 2E, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D and 4E.
“Given the reduced allocations and shortened antlerless deer seasons, a lower antlerless harvest was expected,” Roe said. “Despite the reduced antlerless deer harvests, antlerless deer hunter success rates remained near 25 percent. 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.  Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission 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 Commission, 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 Game Commission 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 available on the Game Commission’s 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 Game Commission’s website.
“These data and the explanation and examples found in the deer plan provide the public with the opportunity to see exactly how deer harvests are estimated,” DuBrock said.
Also on the “White-Tailed Deer” page, in the “Research and Publications” section, is a document titled “Reporting rate variability and precision of white-tailed deer harvest estimates in Pennsylvania,” which appeared in the Journal of Wildlife Management in 2004, a peer-reviewed scientific publication.
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.
The 2010-11 hunting seasons marked the second time crossbows were legal in statewide archery deer seasons for all hunters. In those 19 WMUs outside of the three urban areas, the archery harvest increased 13 percent. The proportion of the archery harvest taken by crossbows in the 19 WMUs increased from 30 percent to 34 percent. Crossbows have been legal in urban WMUs of 2B, 5C, and 5D since 2004.
Total deer harvest estimates by WMU for 2010-11 (with 2009-10 figures in parentheses) are as follows:
WMU 1A:  5,900 (5,500) antlered, 11,900 (10,700) antlerless;
WMU 1B: 5,500 (5,100) antlered, 9,200 (9,500) antlerless;
WMU 2A: 5,800 (6,800) antlered, 13,500 (13,900) antlerless;
WMU 2B: 4,000 (4,300) antlered, 13,000 (20,000) antlerless;
WMU 2C: 8,500 (6,500) antlered, 9,600 (10,900) antlerless;
WMU 2D: 11,500 (10,000) antlered, 18,000 (16,000) antlerless;
WMU 2E: 4,200 (3,700) antlered 6,000 (5,300) antlerless;
WMU 2F: 6,400 (5,200) antlered, 5,700 (6,600) antlerless;
WMU 2G: 6,800 (5,200) antlered, 3,600 (4,200) antlerless;
WMU 3A (Northern Potter, Tioga, and McKean from stateline down to Route 6) : 3,800 (3,300) antlered, 6,500 (6,000) antlerless;
WMU 3B: 5,400 (4,900) antlered, 7,600 (9,100) antlerless;
WMU 3C: 6,200 (6,200) antlered, 8,300 (7,100) antlerless;
WMU 3D: 3,900 (3,100) antlered, 5,500 (6,300) antlerless;
WMU 4A: 3,800 (3,700) antlered, 6,400 (7,400) antlerless;
WMU 4B: 4,500 (4,000) antlered, 5,100 (4,100) antlerless;
WMU 4C: 5,700 (4,700) antlered, 8,400 (7,200) antlerless;
WMU 4D: 6,300 (5,000) antlered, 5,500 (7,200) antlerless;
WMU 4E: 4,800 (4,100) antlered, 5,900 (6,300) antlerless;
WMU 5A: 2,400 (2,200) antlered, 3,400 (4,200) antlerless;
WMU 5B: 6,900 (6,000) antlered, 12,500 (11,300) antlerless;
WMU 5C: 9,400 (7,600) antlered, 24,000 (23,200) antlerless;
WMU 5D: 1,100 (1,100) antlered, 3,700 (3,900) antlerless; and
Unknown WMU: 130 (130) antlered, 10 (190) antlerless.
Season-specific deer harvest estimates – such as archery and muzzleloader and rifle – by WMU for 2010-11 also can be calculated using harvest data from processors and report cards.
“Although we do not use season-specific harvest data for management purposes, we recognize the public is interested in these harvest estimates,” said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director. “For that reason only, we provide estimated deer harvest breakdowns for firearms, archery and muzzleloader seasons, but we only use total deer harvest estimates when making recommendations for each WMU.”
Season-specific deer harvest estimates are as follows:
WMU 1A: firearms, 3,400 antlered, 8,700 antlerless; archery, 2,440 antlered, 1,870 antlerless; and muzzleloader, 60 antlered, 1,330 antlerless;
WMU 1B: firearms, 3,600 antlered, 7,300 antlerless; archery, 1,870 antlered, 1,040 antlerless; muzzleloader, 30 antlered, 860 antlerless;
WMU 2A: firearms, 4,000 antlered, 10,400 antlerless; archery, 1,740 antlered, 1,650 antlerless; muzzleloader, 60 antlered, 1,450 antlerless;
WMU 2B: firearms, 1,500 antlered, 7,100 antlerless; archery, 2,480 antlered, 5,040 antlerless; muzzleloader, 20 antlered, 860 antlerless;
WMU 2C: firearms, 5,900 antlered, 7,100 antlerless; archery, 2,500 antlered, 1,310 antlerless; muzzleloader, 100 antlered, 1,190 antlerless;
WMU 2D: firearms, 7,600 antlered, 7,100 antlerless; archery, 3,790 antlered, 1,830 antlerless; muzzleloader, 110 antlered, 2,170 antlerless;
WMU 2E: firearms, 3,100 antlered, 4,500 antlerless; archery, 1,070 antlered, 670 antlerless; muzzleloader, 30 antlered, 830 antlerless;
WMU 2F: firearms, 4,900 antlered, 4,800 antlerless; archery, 1,440 antlered, 340 antlerless; muzzleloader, 60 antlered, 560 antlerless;
WMU 2G: firearms, 5,600 antlered, 2,500 antlerless; archery, 1,140 antlered, 350 antlerless; muzzleloader, 60 antlered, 750 antlerless;
WMU 3A: firearms, 3,000 antlered, 5,000 antlerless; archery, 790 antlered, 740 antlerless; muzzleloader, 10 antlered, 760 antlerless;
WMU 3B: firearms, 4,100 antlered, 5,500 antlerless; archery, 1,250 antlered, 960 antlerless; muzzleloader, 50 antlered, 1,140 antlerless;
WMU 3C: firearms, 5,000 antlered, 6,000 antlerless; archery, 1,180 antlered, 990 antlerless; muzzleloader, 20 antlered, 1,310 antlerless;
WMU 3D: firearms, 2,700 antlered, 3,900 antlerless; archery, 1,150 antlered, 880 antlerless; muzzleloader, 50 antlered, 720 antlerless;
WMU 4A: firearms, 3,200 antlered, 5,100 antlerless; archery, 570 antlered, 550 antlerless; muzzleloader, 30 antlered, 750 antlerless;
WMU 4B: firearms, 3,100 antlered, 3,500 antlerless; archery, 1,360 antlered, 810 antlerless; muzzleloader, 40 antlered, 790 antlerless;
WMU 4C: firearms, 3,700 antlered, 6,000 antlerless; archery, 1,930 antlered, 1,340 antlerless; muzzleloader, 70 antlered, 1,060 antlerless;
WMU 4D: firearms, 4,900 antlered, 3,800 antlerless; archery, 1,340 antlered, 910 antlerless; muzzleloader, 60 antlered, 790 antlerless;
WMU 4E: firearms, 3,400 antlered, 3,900 antlerless; archery, 1,350 antlered, 1,070 antlerless; muzzleloader, 50 antlered, 930 antlerless;
WMU 5A: firearms, 1,700 antlered, 2,300 antlerless; archery, 680 antlered, 600 antlerless; muzzleloader, 20 antlered, 500 antlerless;
WMU 5B: firearms, 3,600 antlered, 7,600 antlerless; archery, 3,230 antlered, 3,450 antlerless; muzzleloader, 70 antlered, 1,450 antlerless;
WMU 5C: firearms, 3,900 antlered, 13,300 antlerless; archery, 5,360 antlered, 8,910 antlerless; muzzleloader, 140 antlered, 1,790 antlerless; and
WMU 5D: firearms, 300 antlered, 1,300 antlerless; archery, 790 antlered, 2,260 antlerless; muzzleloader, 10 antlered, 140 antlerless.
( Published harvest estimates are estimated using a Mark-Recapture estimator and are rounded to the nearest 100 or 1,000 depending on precision of the estimate.)