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smokepole
03-18-2009, 06:07 PM
DEM'S PRELIMINARY DEER SEASON TALLY SHOWS INCREASE IN NUMBER OF DEER HARVESTED THIS YEAR

PROVIDENCE - The Department of Environmental Management's Division of Fish and Wildlife has released preliminary deer hunting figures for the 2008-2009 deer hunting seasons. According to data collected from the Division's vendors and biological check stations, 2,811 deer were taken, 220 more than last season.

A total of 1,390 deer were taken during the mainland muzzleloader season, 38 more than last year, and 650 deer were taken during the mainland shotgun season, 54 more than last year.

Mainland archery hunters took 575 deer, or 21 percent of the total harvest. Prudence and Patience Island archery hunters took 82 deer, 28 more than last year. Paraplegics and double amputees took two deer on Fort Greene in Narragansett, and six deer on Prudence Island during the special hunts.

Conanicut and Aquidneck Island hunters took 65 deer during archery, muzzleloader, and shotgun seasons. Block Island hunters took 41 deer during the archery and shotgun seasons.

Many impressive deer were taken on both the mainland and on Block Island. One archery hunter checked in an 11-point deer from Exeter weighing 253 pounds hog dressed (with all organs removed.) The largest deer taken by shotgun was an eight-point deer taken in Smithfield that weighed 204 pounds. The largest deer taken by muzzleloader, weighing 230 pounds with 11 points, was taken in the Arcadia Management Area in Hope Valley. On Block Island, the largest deer taken during shotgun season was a 13-point deer weighing 170 pounds, and the largest taken by archery also weighed in at 170 pounds with 11 points.

Most of the data from the various hunting seasons was collected from the state's four biological check stations and 12 vendor-operated check stations, where hunters were required to check their deer within 24 hours of harvest. Data on health, weight, age, sex, and antler beam are analyzed after the season, providing a major source of information to guide the Division's deer management program.

The Division continues to focus on managing the antlerless population on private land to keep the deer herd in balance with habitat and the concerns of the residents. Deer have high reproductive capabilities and can exceed available habitat if not controlled. This is especially true on islands where a rapid increase in the number of deer can cause severe habitat damage, as well as increase the risk of Lyme disease.

Deer/Auto Collisions Still High

Noteworthy again this year was a large number of auto/deer collisions. A total of 1,120 deer were reported struck, an increase over last year's total of 1,088. The highest number of deer struck by vehicles occurred in South Kingstown (106) and North Kingstown (95). Statewide, more deer were struck by vehicles in November (228) and December (163) than in any other months. Wildlife officials note that efforts to reduce auto/deer collisions are a challenge because many occur in urban and suburban areas with limited deer management options.

A final report on the 2008-2009 deer harvest data and deer/vehicle collisions will be available on DEM's website, www.dem.ri.gov, later this spring.