New Brunswick

White-tailed deer hunt numbers lowest in 42 years

This year was one of the worst on record for white-tailed deer hunting in the province, according to preliminary numbers from the Department of Natural Resources. The hunt took in 38 per cent few animals than last year's season, with just 4313 deer harvested. That's down from 6935 reported in 2014.

Hunt saw a drop of 38 per cent from 2014 numbers

The deer population appears to be at a record low. (CBC)

This year was one of the worst on record for white-tailed deer hunting in the province, according to preliminary numbers from the Department of Natural Resources.

The hunt took in 38 per cent fewer animals than last year's season, with just 4,313 deer harvested. That's down from 6,935 reported in 2014.

Two straight bad winters have depleted the deer herd in New Brunswick. (CBC)
It's the second-lowest total that's ever been recorded for the hunt.  The only year that was worse was back in 1973.
There's probably better ways to waste my time.- Rod Currie, hunter

The steepest decline happened in northern sections of the province, Natural Resources regions 1 and 2.

The Bathurst area saw a drop of 60 per cent, while Miramichi was down 53 per cent.

Rod Currie, a long-time hunter and New Brunswick Wildlife Federation member, said the population has dropped so low that he doesn't bother hunting anymore.

"The areas I traditionally hunted, the end of the season you could go out and see any number of deer and pick a big buck and that just hasn't happened in the last dozen years," Currie said.

"There's probably better ways to waste my time."

Hunter Rod Currie no longer bothers to go after deer, because of the decline. (CBC)
The deer season came to a close last weekend, and the low numbers had been predicted all along.

Speaking just before the start of the season, DNR biologist Joe Kennedy said the deer herd had been depleted because of severe winters over the last two years.

"The deer have a difficult time feeding," said Kennedy.

"They don't consume adequate food to put on fat, and they're burning what fat they do have all throughout the winter."

"Combine that with deep snows they have to travel through, it really sapped the energy out of them to the point where we saw a lot of deer starving," Kennedy added.

According to DNR, the future of the white-tailed deer population depends much on the severity of the upcoming winter and the management of the surviving herd.

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