A year after Vineyard hunters took a record number of deer, the numbers on Martha’s Vineyard fell in 2020 but still matched the third-highest total on record. According to state data released this week, Island hunters took 844 deer this year in the season that ran from Oct. 4 to Dec. 31.

In 2019, the Island’s deer take totaled 1,132.

Archery season accounted for the largest numbers with 370 deer taken. Shotgun season brought in 313 deer, a steep decline from 2019 when 537 deer were taken this way. Primitive firearms (black powder) season saw the only increase from last year with 161 deer taken in 2020 compared to 139 in 2019.

Chris Lyons, manager of the community deer locker at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury, estimated around 80 deer came through the locker this year. Mr. Lyons said this was slower than last year and a lot of the hunters he spoke to said they either struck out or only saw young deer rather than big bucks.

“There wasn’t as much available hunting ground because people were in their houses this year,” Mr. Lyons said. “A lot of years the summer residents are gone. This year hunters were saying they’d start walking and see lights and know they can’t go there.”

Sophie Mazza, Island Grown Initiative food equity director, said deer donations were down this year. Last year the program took in 31 deer. This year only seven deer were donated to the program. This translated to 300 pounds of venison distributed to the organization’s food equity partners.

However, despite the fewer numbers, Ms. Mazza felt this year was a still a success.

“All the deer looked good,” she said. “They were healthy. They all got processed at the Larder by Jefferson Monroe and it went really smoothly this year despite it being a much lower number.”

Dick Johnson runs the Island’s tick-borne illness prevention program and coordinates the doe-take incentive program that gives hunters $100 for every doe taken after their first two. Mr. Johnson said the program saw about half of what it did last year. In total, 20 Island hunters registered for the program but only eight took more than three deer. The final tally was 22 does brought in.

Mr. Johnson said all the deer that qualified for the subsidy were shot on private land.

“It seemed like everything was lower this year,” he said.

Statewide numbers were up, however. Across the commonwealth, hunters took 14,331 deer during the season marking an increase from 2019’s statewide total of 13,891.