SC deer harvest stable in 2019

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From the S.C. DNR

Results of the 2019 Deer Hunter Survey conducted by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) indicate that the statewide deer harvest decreased by only 1 percent last season.

It included an estimated 105,201 bucks, and 87,872 does, which made up a total harvest of 193,073 deer, just slightly down from the 194,986 estimated harvested in 2018, according to Charles Ruth, SCDNR Big Game Program coordinator.

The fall of 2019 was the third season of the “all deer” tagging system and statewide limit on antlered deer. Although the harvest has increased (12%) since 2016, it is primarily a result of increased doe harvest (18.0%) rather than an increase in bucks (9%).

“Prior to the tagging program, increases in harvest were normally the result of increases in the buck harvest or a more equal increase in buck and doe harvest. This disproportionate harvest may be indicative of the new buck limit having the desired effect of decreasing pressure on bucks. It will likely take a few years for this to become clearer,” Ruth said.

Top counties for harvest in 2019 included Anderson, Laurens and Spartanburg in the Piedmont, and Bamberg and Beaufort in the coastal plain, with each of these counties exhibiting harvest rates