Connecticut’s 2015 Reported Deer Harvest

Posted by Bruce Carroll on January 15, 2016 in Uncategorized, State News ; Connecticut

Connecticut just released the 2015 deer harvest results. Connecticut’s deer seasons ran from 9/15/2015 -12/28/2015.    The years total number of deer harvested was 8,007 from all of the combined deer hunting seasons.    The archery hunters reported a total of 4,288 deer for the 2015 season.  Shotgun/Rifle hunters total came in at 3,380 deer.   Muzzleloader hunters reported 339 whitetails being harvested.

The harvest numbers have been on a steady decline for several years. In 2013 harvest reports revealed a total of 12,549 deer was harvested that year.  Broken down by  Archery – 6,046, Muzzleloader- 947, Shotgun/Rifle- 4,340 deer being harvested.  Plus 1,216 reported as landowner harvests.

In 2014 the harvest numbers fell again to 11,394 whitetails being harvested.  Broken down by Archery- 5,433, Muzzleloader- 770, Shotgun/Rifle- 4,104.  Plus 1,087 reported as landowner harvests.

After reading this we did a little research to see if we could see why the Connecticut’s deer harvest numbers have been on a downward slide.

The first thing we checked was deer permit sales.  If less hunters are hunting could lead to less deer being harvested.  We went back to 2012 and checked license sales. In 2012 there was a total of 54,272 deer permits sold.  In 2013 a total of 54,013 deer permits sold. In 2014 a total of 49, 523 deer permits sold.  I wasn’t able to get the number of 2015  deer permits sold, but it seems to be a trend of not as many hunters deer hunting laying a part in the steadily declining deer harvests.

But during my research i came across something else that might be effecting the deer harvest numbers as well.

Back in 2014, around 9,000 deer hunters were sent a email containing a online hunter survey. A total of 3,632 hunters responded and filled the form out.  Similar to previous years surveys hunters were asked questions and was asked to rank them.

One question they was asked was ” How would you describe the status of deer population from last year to this year?”  Forty-four percent of the hunters reported that they believed the population was declining, 42% believed it was stable, and 14% believed it was increasing.  In general , hunters perceived that Connecticut’s deer populations are relatively stable or have been decreasing slightly in most zones over the last three years.

But the thing that caught my eye and was alarming was the part of the survey that asked about predator sightings.  The survey revealed a increase of observations and distribution of all predators in Connecticut.

In 2014 hunters reported 897 bear sightings in 95 individual towns.  In 2013 there were only 550 bear sightings in 85 towns.

In 2014 Hunters reported 1,794 bobcat sightings in 158 towns.  In 2013 only 971 bobcats was reported in 143 towns.

in 2014 hunters reported 8,713 coyote sightings in 167 towns.  In 2013 only 5,988 coyotes were sighted in 166 towns.

All though this info just comes from a survey from only a fraction of the hunters in Connecticut, i believe it is safe to say that predator numbers are on the rise.  Predators like bears, bobcats and coyotes can have a big effect on deer populations can be a big part of the decreasing deer population.

So it seems there are several reasons that are effecting why the deer harvest numbers are declining in Connecticut, fewer hunters, more predators, possible decreasing population of the deer herd.

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