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Sportsman Outdoors

Annual national deer stats report!

Jack Danchak
Posted 3/15/24

The National Deer Association (NDA) recently released their annual deer report. An average of 41 percent of North America’s deer hunters successfully harvested at least one deer during the …

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Sportsman Outdoors

Annual national deer stats report!


The National Deer Association (NDA) recently released their annual deer report. An average of 41 percent of North America’s deer hunters successfully harvested at least one deer during the 2022-23 hunting season. In addition, 17 percent took two or more deer that season. 

This is just one of the many findings and statistics to come from the National Deer Association’s Report. These success rates vary widely by state and region, however. The complete list is included in the report which is available online.  

NDA Chief Conservation Officer Kip Adams said, “Multiple deer bag limits are the norm today, and some hunters perceive this as assuring an over-harvest of deer. However, the reality is only a small percentage of hunters actually fill multiple tags.” 

Adams pointed out that a license in Georgia, for example, allows two bucks and 10 antlerless deer per-season, but nearly half of Georgia’s hunters do not harvest a single whitetail. 

Regionally, the Southeast led the country with 56 percent of hunters successfully taking at least one deer. The Midwest was next with 40 percent of its hunters taking a deer, followed by the West 35 percent and the Northeast 33 percent. The Southeast also led the country with 26 percent of hunters shooting two or more deer, followed by the Midwest 14 percent and the Northeast 11 percent. 

The NDA’s latest analysis also reveals the percentage of successful hunters is down from 48 percent in 2011, marketing a 7 percent decline in just over a decade. Likewise, the national average for hunter’s harvesting two or more deer decreased from 21 percent to 17 percent in that same time period. 

Hunter success rates have decreased in all United States regions, with the Northeast having experienced the largest decline from 2011 to 2022.

Interestingly, the overall deer harvest of nearly six million during the 2022-23 season remains near record levels despite lower rates of individual hunter success. 

The estimated buck deer harvest of 2,958,432, which was the fourth highest in the past 10 hunting seasons and just below the highest buck harvest of the new century set in 2020.  

The estimated antlerless deer harvest of  3,001,563 was up one percent from the previous season, and it is only the second time the antlerless harvest has topped three million deer in the last 10 seasons. 

Average percentage of the antlered buck harvest that was three-and-a-half years and older was 42 percent in 2022. This is the highest percentage ever reported. More than one of every three antlered bucks shot in the United States is at least three-and-a-half years old. 

New Jersey hunters take the highest percentage of deer with archery equipment at 65 percent of the harvest, while Rhode Island hunters take 42 percent of their deer with muzzleloading rifles.

The major whitetail states in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast combined burn nearly nine million acres annually with prescribed fire, and the Southeast leads with nearly six million of that total. 

The use of drones for deer scouting is legal in 11 states, and the use of drones for deer recovery is legal in 13 states.

Complete state-by-state estimates of total buck harvest, buck age structure, and many other harvest parameters are available in the full Deer Report, which also includes a look at numerous other critical issues for deer hunting.

The report is available to download from the NDA’s website:  https://bit.ly/3HKNZAe.


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