Deer Harvest Characteristics During Compound and Traditional Archery Hunts

Resource managers require accurate estimates of hunter success rates with various weapon types to predict annual harvests and design management strategies. We obtained harvest data for white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) on the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in southeastern Oklahoma during periods of compound (1983— 1988) and traditional archery (1989-1995) hunting to compare hunter success rates and the sex and ages of deer harvested. Hunter success was greater (P = 0.001) with compound (¯x = 17.8%; SE = 1.3) than traditional archery equipment (¯x = 10.7%; SE = 0.9). Total harvest (P = 0.002), number of bucks harvested (P = 0.001), and number of does harvested (P = 0.027) was also greater during compound archery hunts. Deer population estimates (P = 0.484) and fawn:doe ratios (P = 0.148) were not different between periods of compound and traditional archery. The replacement of compound with traditional archery hunts may allow managers to increase the proportion of mature bucks in the population by reducing harvest rates while maintaining recreational opportunities for hunters and associated economic benefits.

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