Delaware Public Media

Banner year for First State deer and turkey hunters

Jul 15, 2020

Deer and wild turkey hunting season shows Delaware is a successful destination for deer and turkey hunters.

The 2019-2020 hunting season set a record with 16,969 deer harvested. 



That helps move management of the deer population to a level that provides quality hunting opportunities, and reduces deer conflicts with farming and motorists.

The deer harvested this past season exceeded the previous record set during the 2017-2018 hunting season by 1,665 deer.

And it’s the seventh consecutive year that more than 14,000 deer were harvested by hunters in Delaware.

David Saveikis is the director of DNREC’s Fish and Wildlife.

"An important aspect is that there are hot spots for deer where deer population is higher in the state - higher than other areas," said Saveikis. "It is pretty high everywhere, but 11 of  Delaware's 18 wildlife management zones - we've broken the state of Delaware into 18 management zones - 11 of those 18 management zones experienced record deer harvest this past year."

As for wild turkeys, the 643 harvested during spring turkey season from April 11 to May 9, and during the youth/non-ambulatory disabled hunt was the fourth highest recorded harvest for the state. 

That was 78 more than last year.

Saveikis says wild turkeys in Delaware have made somewhat of a comeback.

"They're a great conservation success story," said Saveikis. They were extradited from the state centuries ago, and the Division of Fish and Wildlife, working with partners in the National Wild Turkey Federation, reintroduced turkeys about three and a half decades ago and they are a great conservation success story. Just in the past year, turkeys were harvested in 17 of the state's 18 wildlife management zones."

537 turkeys were harvested on privately-owned lands and 106 were harvested from 20 different public lands, matching the previous record in 2017.