Garrett County’s Deer Dilemma: Managing Populations Amidst Growing Concerns

Reimagined landscape of Garrett County depicting the deer population dilemma and efforts for sustainable management

In 2023, Garrett County, Maryland, confronts significant challenges with deer overpopulation, affecting agriculture, beautiful front yard landscaping, and the delicate balance of local ecosystems.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reported a decrease of 18% in deer harvest during the early portion of the 2023 archery and muzzleloader seasons compared to the previous year. This reduction indicates shifts in deer populations and hunting success influenced by weather conditions and food availability​​​​.

Impact on Garrett County

Garrett County, specifically, experienced a notable decrease in deer harvest, with 770 antlered and 523 antlerless deer reported, reflecting a 13.8% decline. These figures underscore the ongoing issue of deer damage in the county​​.

Close-up view of Garrett County's natural setting, highlighting the deer overpopulation challenge and management efforts

Statewide Harvest and Implications

Statewide, Maryland saw a total deer harvest of 76,687 during the combined seasons of 2022-2023, marking an 8% increase from the previous year. This includes both antlered and antlerless deer.

The fluctuating deer numbers in Garrett County as part of this statewide trend point to significant implications for local agriculture and efforts to protect shrubs from deer damage​​.

Ecological and Agricultural Impact

The changing deer population dynamics in Garrett County have profound ecological implications. Overpopulation can lead to habitat degradation, affecting local biodiversity and the health of shrubs and other vegetation.

The 2023 deer season in Garrett County reflects the broader challenge of managing deer populations in a way that aligns with ecological, agricultural, and community needs. The county’s ongoing efforts are crucial for maintaining a sustainable balance in wildlife management.

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