2017 Southern Deer Forecast

2017 Southern Deer Forecast
Photo By Ron Sinfelt

No matter where you're hunting in the South, you can find the latest state analysis and where-to-go hotspots in our annual Deer Forecast.

Just choose your state from the list below.

The deer hunting forecast in Texas is always good. Even in what the whitetail prognosticators term as 'œdown' or 'œaverage' years, we've still got the largest population estimate in the country. This year again has been one that may go down as average, but according to the Lone Star State's resident deer expert, that's still actually great. Alan Cain, the whitetail program leader for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, again said that the overall harvest last year was on par with previous average years, noting that the total number of deer taken again will be well above a....
Not since 1998 have Virginia deer hunters killed as few deer as they did last season. There are many factors that impact the harvest and hunter success rates, and Matt Knox, VDGIF's Deer Project Coordinator, shed light on the decline in the harvest. One factor is that in many areas of the state it is not necessarily desirable for hunters to kill more deer every year. Increasing harvest generally means the herd is increasing in number, but after a point either the habitat cannot support more deer, or deer-human interactions outside of hunting become a problem for farmers and people driving....
According to WVDNR Wildlife Biologist James Crum, one of the most important factors in deer management is evaluating the deer-to-habitat relationship — comparing deer numbers to available habitat to support those densities. Over the past 40 years, there have been declines in antler growth and the average weight of yearling bucks. The percentage of fawn breeding has dropped from 20 to 30 percent, to zero to 10 percent. Parasites have increased, and woodland plots protected behind fencing have indicated deer are over-browsing available....
Things are looking quite good these days for deer hunters in the Volunteer State. Not only are harvest numbers up and holding steady, but the quality of antlered bucks seems to be on the rise as well. And that is not even taking into consideration the pending new world record whitetail taken in Tennessee last season or what would have been a new state record deer had it not been for the world-record-class deer....
For several years recently we saw a decline in populations of many kinds of Oklahoma wildlife as drought persisted year after year, especially in the western parts of our state. As the drought persisted, many hunters and landowners were seeing far fewer deer than usual. Thank goodness, after a couple of years of more normal rainfall, we're seeing a rebound in several species. Last year's deer harvest was a marked improvement over the previous year's....
North Carolina hunters reported harvesting 149,811 deer last season, down 7.8 percent from the 2015-16 season harvest of 162,558. Hunters killed fewer deer in every district of the state, with declines ranging from a 1.2 percent drop in District 9 to 14.1 percent in District 5. Almost exactly half of the deer that hunters killed were bucks; about 6 percent were button bucks, and 43 percent were does. The age and sex percentages have remained the same for many....

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Lightening may not strike the same place twice, but don't tell deer hunters in the South Carolina coastal plains that hurricanes abide by the same law of nature. Hunters have endured two straight seasons of major hurricane rains and flooding that have significantly disrupted deer seasons. Additional weather effects were felt over a wide area of the state both years, but certainly the coastal areas — where, traditionally, exceptional hunting occurs....

2017 Missouri Deer Forecast
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Missouri is home to about 1.2 million white-tailed deer. That number is down from several years ago when the estimated population was at 1.5 million deer. For detailed information on why our population has declined and what hunters can expect in 2017, we turned to the Missouri Department of Conservation's Cervid Programs....

2017 Mississippi Deer Forecast

2017 Mississippi Deer Forecast
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Even discussions with biologists across the state show that concerns and opinions are as varied as individuals. However, every biologist shared one concern: the importance and need to implement a white-tailed deer reporting/tagging system for the Magnolia State. Without the data that a reporting system provides, state biologists are left to extrapolate the numbers from the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) and wildlife management areas to come up with their best guesses as to the current condition of the state's deer herd in order to make....

2017 Kentucky Deer Forecast

2017 Kentucky Deer Forecast
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The early season started off hot, and above average temperatures continued on into October. Several super moons led to a lot of deer activity at night and limited movement during legal hunting hours. The heat and reduced deer movement also contributed to below average hunter effort. If this was not enough to dampen hunter success, there was very high acorn production across much of the state. This means deer did not have to move much to find food. Even so, by the end of the season hunters had posted another banner year for....

2017 Georgia Deer Forecast

2017 Georgia Deer Forecast
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The coming of deer season has a profound effect on Georgia hunters. As the opener gets closer, two specific questions are likely to come from this group. The first is, of course, how is this year's hunting going to be? That's followed closely by, what are the prospects of putting some venison in the larder? Barring years with major droughts or serious widespread flooding, most wildlife biologists will hedge all bets when making predictions. No one can tell for sure what the fall and winter will bring....

2017 Florida Deer Forecast

2017 Florida Deer Forecast
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Fall is the best time of year to a deer hunter. The weather still is hot in much of Florida, but hunters can still get into the woods and start looking for those elusive big bucks. However, to truly be successful, hunters need to have a good picture of what is going on with the Sunshine State's deer herd. 'œOverall, the deer herd seems to be stable,' said Cory Morea, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Deer Management Program coordinator. 'œIn the harvest data, we're seeing that larger-antlered bucks are being harvested, which we expected since we implemented greater antler....

2017 Arkansas Deer Forecast

2017 Arkansas Deer Forecast
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We certainly don't lack for opportunities. The Arkansas archery season runs from the last weekend in September to Feb. 28, the longest continuous deer season in the nation. We have two muzzleloader seasons that offer 12 days of exclusive opportunities for smokepole hunters in October and December. Our modern gun seasons are generous, but if you live in south Arkansas, it runs uninterrupted for nearly 40 days. And that doesn't include a five-day private lands modern gun hunt that spans the end of October and the beginning of November, nor does it include a three-day Christmas holiday modern gun hunt....

2017 Alabama Deer Forecast

2017 Alabama Deer Forecast
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Fall is in the air, and it's time to head to the woods to look for some venison. Hunters across the Cotton State are gearing up for the most anticipated season of the year. Of course, to be truly successful, hunters need to have an understanding of what is happening with Alabama's deer herd. 'œThere are some parts of the state where we've gotten a lot of questions and concerns from hunters and landowners about what is perceived as declining deer numbers,' said Chris Cook, Deer Studies Project leader for the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. 'œThat's primarily up in north-central Alabama, and that was really the justification for shortening the either-sex gun season in that part of the state this past....

2017 Louisiana Deer Forecast

2017 Louisiana Deer Forecast
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In addition to the emergency cervid carcass ban that went into effect on March 1 of this year in Louisiana, the seven-member Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission has approved additional changes to the rulebook that may affect deer hunters. Through several meetings each calendar year, the Commission discusses and considers new regulations, and establishes hunting season dates and bag limits. While making these decisions, Commission members receive guidance and recommendations from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologists based on long-term research projects and yearlong data collection....
 

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