"Archery hunter participation is increasing due to perception," Purkey said. "As a result, the bow kill over the last five years is up tremendously."
Statistics certainly bear that out, with a harvest of 961 deer last season, 293 of which were taken with archery gear.
Purkey said the 2011-12 season was exceptional, and quickly pointed out that "realistically our goal is to be consistently good."
Records for the past three seasons show buck kills consistently exceeding doe harvest.
Fifty-two percent of the 2009-10 deer harvest were bucks, while that component of the deer kill jumped to 55 percent the following season.
Last season, the percentage of bucks in the harvest climbed to 60 percent.
With last year's 60/40 ratio indicating a move away from the ideal 50/50 harvest, refuge managers scheduled a one-day antlerless-deer-only hunt on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
Harvest of 1 ½-year-olds over the last four years went from 37 percent down to 30 percent before rising to 38 percent last season.
The good news is that 50 percent of the harvest is in the 2 ½-year-old-or-older group.