buck

A whitetail buck with large antlers.

The number of deer killed in Pennsylvania’s 2019-20 hunting season was the highest it’s been in 15 years.

That’s according to officials at the state Game Commission, who revealed that the Lancaster County region also saw an increase in harvested deer.

Commission officials released the numbers Thursday, breaking them down by wildlife management units, designated portions of land used to manage wild game with the exception of elk, waterfowl and migratory game birds.

Nearly all of Lancaster County falls within Wildlife Management Unit 5B, which also includes portions of surrounding counties.

Throughout the entire 2019-20 season, a total of 10,200 antlered and 15,345 antlerless deer were killed in Unit 5B, according to game commission numbers.

Both of those numbers increased from the prior season, when 9,200 antlered and 14,608 antlerless deer were taken. That’s a total increase of 7 percent.

Of the 2019-20 deer harvested in 5B, 6,420 antlered and 7,400 antlerless were harvested during archery season.

“Bowhunters accounted for about a third of Pennsylvania’s 2019-20 overall deer harvest,” officials said.

And 80 antlered and 1,438 antlerless were harvested during muzzleloader season in the local unit.

Across the state, a total 389,431 deer were harvested during the 2019-20 season -- an increase of about 4 percent from the previous season, officials said.

That statewide total was made up of 163,240 harvested bucks and 226,191 antlerless deer. Of those antlerless, 10,461 tested positive for the always-fatal chronic wasting disease.

“Keeping harvest pressure on antlerless deer is critical in our ongoing efforts to address the risk of chronic wasting disease,” according to a statement from Christopher Rosenberry, the commission’s Deer and Elk Section supervisor.

As of early March, no deer harvested in Lancaster County during the 2019-20 season had tested positive for the disease, though they have been found on local deer farms, said Shannon Powers, with the state Department of Agriculture.