An 8 percent decline in the number of deer harvested in Indiana during this past hunting season is being attributed to disease and new hunting rules, according to the DNR.
The wildlife agency released its statistics on the season, and hunters killed 125,635 deer in 2013, which is about 10,600 fewer than the record harvest in 2012.
The 2013 season still ranks eighth best since regulated deer hunting began in Indiana in 1951.
At least two factors contributed to the lower harvest including carryover from a widespread outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in 2012, and a record antlerless harvest in 2012.
“We had a record anterless harvest in 2012 on top of a major disease outbreak, which tells us there were a lot less deer going into the season,” said Chad Stewart, deer management biologist with the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife. “It was pretty easy to predict the harvest would be down.
Hunters killed 3,091 deer in Switzerland County in 2013. That ranks third highest in the state behind Harrison and Washington counties.
Franklin County hunters took home 2,741 deer this past season, which is ranked fourth in the state.
There were also 2,225 deer killed in Dearborn County and 1,965 deer killed in Ripley County.
A substantial drop in the number of deer killed was reported in Decatur and Rush counties. 790 deer were reported in Decatur County and 351 in Rush County.
The firearm season accounted for 57 percent of the total, followed by archery at 27 percent. The muzzleloader (8 percent), late anterless (5 percent) and youth season (2 percent) made up the rest.
Hunters in Indiana killed 20,690 deer on the opening day of gun season, Sat., Nov. 16, which adds up to 28 percent of all deer harvested during firearm season. The next one day total was Sat., Nov. 23, when hunters reported 4,228 deer equaling 10 percent of the harvest during gun season.