Randolph County’s deer harvest rates top in state

Deer hunting took place in Randolph County like in no other county in North Carolina. Again.

With numbers tallied for the 2021-22 season through the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission’s electronic reporting system, it showed that 4,422 white-tailed deer had been successfully hunted in Randolph County. That was the most for any county in the state.

“There’s a lot of people in Randolph County who hunt,” said Michael King of the NCWRC. “By and large, those out of that group (responsible for the county’s deer hunting total) are from Randolph County or local to that area.”

Anson County was second with 4,104 deer taken.

The numbers aren’t considered final yet, but King said there aren’t likely to be significant changes at this stage.

King is the NCWRC’s sergeant in charge of Guilford, Randolph and Rockingham counties. He has been in that role since 2018 in a career with the commission that has spanned about a dozen years.

The deer population in the region has remained high, thus yielding significant hunting opportunities, King said.

It’s no surprise that hunting numbers have been on the rise. It’s a trend that began a couple of years ago.

“From when COVID started to now, our license sales went up drastically,” King said. “More people are getting out and hunting.”

Of the 4,422 that had been counted as of the end of last week in Randolph Country, here’s the breakdown: 2,338 antlered bucks, 207 button bucks, 1,877 does.

The past three-year average deer harvest was 3,694 in Randolph County. Deer season in the Central Region, which includes Randolph County, ended Jan. 1.

Surrounding counties also rated high on the 2021-22 list. The numbers for those counties are Montgomery (3,123), Moore (3,098), Chatham (2,802), Davidson (2,615), Guilford (2,284) and Alamance (2,190).

Hunters are required to carry a valid Big Game Harvest report card while hunting deer, bear or wild turkey.

Turkey season begins in early April.

“A good percentage of those hunters are the same as from (deer season),” King said.

A look back

More complete numbers are available from the 2020-21 hunting season.

Randolph County had the highest total deer harvest with 4,142. Anson County was second with 4,037.

Of those taken in Randolph County, 1,976 were antlered bucks, 221 were button bucks and 1,945 were does.

Wilkes County was the only county to have more antlered bucks taken during that period, with 2,037 (out of its total of 3,596).

The 2020-21 report from Randolph County indicated 64 of the deer were taken on game lands and 4,078 on other lands.

The breakdown by weapon type for those reported from Randolph County was: 3,025 by gun, 627 by black powder, 287 by bow and 203 by crossbow.

The gun season ran from Nov. 13-Jan. 1 following the archery season (Sept. 11-Oct. 29) and blackpowder (Oct. 30-Nov. 12).

The 2020-21 totals for neighboring counties were: Moore (2,898), Montgomery (2,881), Davidson (2,776), Chatham (2,698), Guilford (2,549) and Alamance (2,439).

By Bob Sutton