Washington’s buck harvest dropped last year relative to 2007′s general seasons and was among the lowest of the last 10 years, new figures from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife show.
According to their 2008 game harvest report, 31,581 deer were taken by 138,137 riflemen, archers and muzzleloaders last year, including 25,980 bucks and 5,601 antlerless animals, for a 22.9 percent success rate.
That’s off by over 1,465 bucks — though the antlerless harvest grew by around 50 — and down nearly 1 percent of success rate from the previous fall.
It’s also the lowest antlered take since 1998′s 23,672, which followed the bitter winter of 1996-97. That year, 1998, also saw the lowest all-deer take of the last decade, 27,407.
While over 2,000 fewer hunters purchased a deer tag in 2007, 1,000 less actually took to the field in 2008. By comparison, last year still saw 4,000 more hunters than 1997, the lowest year stats were immediately available for, but 14,000-plus fewer than 1999.
Rifle hunters saw the biggest misfire in 2008. We shot 1,831 fewer deer, including 1,629 fewer bucks. A total of 22,003 bucks were taken last season.
Best all-weapons harvest since 1997 was 2004, when 33,656 bucks and 39,359 deer died.