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Buckshots have record year in the Hills

February 10th,2023 | Environment

It was a good year for hunters in the Hills, as sharpshooters killed more than 5,000 white-tailed deer last season — up 34 per cent from 2021.

According to Quebec’s Ministère de l’Environnement, the increased numbers of mature bucks and “antlerless” deer are good news for deer populations in the Gatineau Hills. It’s a surprising rapid turnaround after the MRC des Collines passed a resolution last September to limit the hunting of young male deer to restore white-tailed populations in the Outaouais.

“Hunting results were very positive, showing an increase in the number of deer harvested and a notable hunting success in the Quebec hunting zones,” noted the ministry in its 2022 hunting report. “These results confirm the good recovery of the region’s herd and place the Outaouais among the very good deer hunting areas in Quebec. The winter of 2023 is looking very good for deer to date, which is encouraging for the 2023 hunting season.”

In hunting zone 10 West, which includes the MRC des Collines-de-l’Outaouais and the MRC de la Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, the ministry reported that hunters harvested 3,949 mature bucks and 1,440 “antlerless” deer during the 2021 season.

According to the report, local hunters were also accurate last season, as the success rate for deer in zone 10 West was 34 per cent, just three points off the Quebec average, which the ministry called “remarkable.”

“Province-wide, the hunting success rate for the first-deer harvest was 37 per cent, a rate not seen since 2007,” the report stated. “This is a remarkable success rate for a territory on the northern edge of the white-tailed deer’s range and is comparable to, or even higher than, that of the adjacent provinces.”

Across the province, deer harvests were up 17 per cent in 2022, with hunters harvesting more than 55,000 white-tailed deer.

In large part, the ministry credits the good hunting year to the fact that Quebec has not experienced a very severe winter for deer since 2019 in most hunting areas, which has helped white-tailed deer survive and grow in numbers.

Wild turkey hunters had their most successful year yet, as the province handed out over 22,500 licences — the most ever in Quebec’s wild turkey history. According to the ministry, 2022 saw a record harvest for wild turkeys, with hunters harvesting approximately 9,300 birds.

While the 18,400 moose harvested in 2022 is slightly lower than in past years, moose hunting remains the most popular among Quebec hunters, with the ministry reporting more than 170,000 licences sold, a rate that has remained unchanged for several years.

Hunting dates for 2023 hunting season for white-tailed deer is divided into three hunting periods: bow and crossbow hunting runs from Sept 30 to Oct. 13; shotgun and muzzle-loading firearm season takes place from Oct. 14 to 18; and rifles run from Nov. 11 to 26. For more information, visit the ministry’s website.

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