Last year’s deer hunting season was one for the record books, and wildlife managers believe this year could be even better.
According to Idaho Fish and Game, hunters successfully harvested 61,200 deer across the state last year, the most since 1992 and a 25 percent increase over 2013’s numbers.
Wildlife biologists contribute the recent deer bonanza to the warm winters the state has experienced. Cold and snowy winters can wreck havoc on deer populations, particularly with young fawns.
Fish and Game counted 7,416 deer last winter in the rugged Unit 76, which borders Wyoming to the east and makes up a large portion of the Diamond Creek Elk Zone. In terms of harvest volume, Unit 76 is a beast, and it has been improving every season since at least 2011. Last year, hunters bagged a total of 1,501 antlered and antlerless deer in the unit, the 10th highest in the state. Three years earlier, fewer than 600 total were harvested.
But the area with the highest mule deer population is Unit 73, which begins in the Arbon Valley region and extends past Malad toward the Utah border.