Deer harvests up amid pandemic

Hunters harvested an estimated 6.3 million white-tailed deer during the 2020-2021 season. Credit: Tony’s Takes

In the midst of the pandemic, hunters harvested the most deer in nearly a decade.

According to the National Deer Association’s annual Deer Report, hunters harvested an estimated 6.3 million white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) during the 2020-2021 season. That was the highest deer harvest since 2011, Outdoor Life reports. The report says the season was the biggest buck harvest in 21 years. Hunting license sales increased 5% from 2019 to 2020.

Meanwhile, a recent report from the Sportsmen’s Alliance found that recreational hunters and sport shooters contributed $149 billion to the national economy. The report breaks down its findings by state and legislative district.

“As shown in this report, outdoor recreation is one of our nation’s largest economic engines and benefits vital conservation and education programs that benefit all Americans,” Tony Wasley, president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, said in a statement. “Hunting and shooting sports, along with fishing and wildlife watching, are part of our national heritage and continue to be powerful forces in our nation’s economy.”