So the 2014-15 deer season is behind us.
And we're now waiting for the Pennsylvania Game Commission to release the numbers on how many bucks and does were shot, where they were shot and what weapons were used to shoot them.
In the meantime, the Quality Deer Management Association recently released its 2015 Whitetail Report, which is based on 2013-14 season numbers.
There are 37 states that provide data to QDMA for its annual report.
Basically, it's every state but those in the West.
For Pennsylvania, the non-profit organization uses data submitted by the PA Game Commission.
Using those numbers, we can see Pennsylvania hunters in 2013-14 shot 134,280 antlered bucks and 218,640 antlerless deer.
Pennsylvania's buck harvest for that season ranked fifth among the 37 states, trailing — in order — Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia.
Texas led the way with 330,535 bucks shot.
Pennsylvania's buck harvest for 2013-14 also ranked fifth when QDMA calculated the number of bucks shot per square mile.
Pennsylvania's three bucks per square mile, trailed - in order - South Carolina, Michigan, Maryland and West Virginia.
South Carolina led the way with 3.8 bucks per square mile.
Pennsylvania ranked third among the 37 states for its antlerless harvest, trailing only Georgia — 316,927 — and Texas - 295,042.
We ranked fourth in antlerless harvest per square mile at 4.9, trailing Maryland, Georgia and Delaware.
Maryland ranked first with 6.5 deer per square mile.
In QDMA's northeast region, Pennsylvania is the king.
The region consists of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
Both our buck and our antlerless harvests were tops in the region.
Our buck harvest was around 20,000 better than second-place New York's, and our doe kill beat second-place New York by around 90,000.
Pennsylvania hunters shot more antlerless deer than those in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia — combined.
And a lot of the antlerless deer we shoot here in Pennsylvania are fawns.
According to QDMA, fawns under 1.5 years of age accounted for 39 percent of the total antlerless harvest here.
Only Massachusetts and Wisconsin posted higher fawn percentages — 46 and 43 percent respectively.
That's among all 37 states.
As for our buck harvest, we're nowhere near the top for protecting yearling bucks — a principle tenet of QDMA.
The organization preaches letting young bucks walk in order to have a balanced age structure in the buck herd.
In Pennsylvania, bucks 1.5 years old accounted for 47 percent of the total 2013-14 buck harvest.
That's smack in the middle for the northeast region, with Vermont at the low end — 27 percent — and Delaware, Maine and Maryland tied for the top with 53 percent.
Among the 37 states, Arkansas posted the lowest kill of 1.5-year-old bucks at 8 percent. There, 67 percent of the total number of bucks shot were at least 3.5 years old.
Pennsylvania's 47 percent is a long way from the 73 percent number it posted in 2001, according to prior QDMA reports.
So we are shooting far less 1.5-year-olds than we used to.
But in recent years, that decline has leveled off. We've been hanging around the 50 percent mark for several years.
Across the 37 states that participate in the QDMA report, 1.5-year-old bucks made up 36 percent of the 2013-14 harvest.
That's a record low, according to QDMA.
One aspect of the report that QDMA is calling attention to is the decline in harvests over the past decade.
Comparing the 2003 kill to 2013, only 11 of the 37 states reported increased buck kills and 13 reported increased antlerless kills.
Nearly all the rest posted declines. (Data was missing for a few and one showed no increase or decline.)
Pennsylvania's 2013 buck kill was down 5 percent from 2003, and the doe kill was off by 32 percent.
QDMA is mainly concerned with declines in the Midwest.
Kentucky was the only state there to post an increased buck kill and an increased antlerless kill.
Iowa's buck kill declined 43 percent, and it's antlerless kill was off 52 percent.
Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan all posted buck-kill declines of more than 20 percent, with Illinois almost making the cut at 18 percent.
Issues cited by state wildlife agencies as having an impact on deer management include disease, predation, bad legislation, low deer densities, high deer densities and too few staff.
Big declines in harvests spell big problems ahead, the QDMA report states.
"Harvest declines of this magnitude are extremely noticeable by hunters, and state wildlife agencies are bearing the brunt of their frustrations.
"Unfortunately, communication between the agencies and hunters is not at a productive level in many states.
"Hunters’ views and agencies’ views on the biggest issues impacting deer management are 180 degrees off.
"This is not good for the future of hunting, and it will take a much more concerted effort on the part of both camps to work together to solve today’s most imminent challenges."