Virginia Deer News

Groups gather to discuss wildlife habitat August 12, 2016 Virginia, Roanoke Times (blog)
... A group of hunters dedicated to restoring deer to Bath, Highland and Alleghany counties has scheduled a rally Aug. 24 to address ways to enhance wildlife habitat on public land in Virginia.  The event is sponsored by the Appalachian Members of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association...

Deer biologist predicts average hunting season August 3, 2016 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... Knox doesn’t expect much change, up or down, from last year’s take of 210,587 deer... both the white oak and red oak crops are looking promising early on.
As a rule, during years when the mast crop is abundant the deer kill goes down ... Twenty years ago, licensed deer hunters numbered about 300,000. Last season, the count was 210,000...

Think twice before poaching an elk in Virginia August 3, 2016 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... An estimated 150 to 200 elk are in Virginia, the majority of them in the Buchanan County restoration site ... The original elk plan called for establishing a herd of up to 400 animals ... The elk herd already is attracting wildlife watchers. The community is building a visitor’s center ...

Resistance emerges to plans for potential deer culling July 27, 2016 Virginia, C-Ville Weekly
... Jones says Kocka touted “killing for convenience” because the report showed that Charlottesville does not need to reduce the deer population for biological reasons, but because locals are irritated with the animals for trivial things, such as eating their plants...

A light year for disease in deer July 21, 2016 Virginia,  Roanoke Times
... Last year was a “quiet” one in Virginia for hemorrhagic disease (HD) ... herds in some areas continue to be impacted by the heavy dose of HD that occurred in Virginia and other states in 2012 and again, to a lesser degree, in 2014...


Charlottesville, Councilors ponder use of bows and arrows to cull deer July 19, 2016 Virginia, The Daily Progress
... the City Council discussed those possibilities following a presentation from a Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries official who suggested the city could consider a few hunting-centric strategies to manage the city’s deer population...

Altavista, Controlling the Deer Population July 11, 2016 Virginia,  Altavista Journal
... a proposal by Town Manager Waverly Coggsdale III and Assistant Town Manager Dan Witt that would alter the existing bow-hunting policy to potentially attract more archers, provide more hunting time ... Council members’ principal concern regarding the new plan was that town citizens should have first crack at permits for in-town hunting ...

Real reason deer numbers are down July 5, 2016 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... Following the harsh winter of 2013-2014, deer numbers plummeted... I’d seen that deer were starving by the end of winter in 2014... In addition to the dearth of fawns that summer, there was also a dearth of adult deer. It was apparent that many must have succumbed to one of the harshest winters I can recall living through in Virginia...

Wildlife agency celebrates 100 years of success June 21, 2016 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... the restoration of deer, especially in the western part of the state where the population had pretty well been depleted. Deer were brought in from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Alabama, mostly in the 1930s... In 1930, the reported deer kill was 1,299 ... 

... "It's not uncommon at all to see a fawn alone all day," the rescue center's Dee Dee Hartson told ABC-affiliated station WSET. "This time of year, mom will leave them somewhere because they're too young to keep up with her...

Baby deer rescued by paddleboarder in Virginia Beach May 23, 2016 Virginia, Virginian-Pilot
...  headed out toward the deer that was easily 3/4-mile away ... got onto the sand, it could barely stand up ...

Deer disease takes a break in Virginia [EHD] May 11, 2016 Roanoke Times
... Virginia’s deer herd escaped a major outbreak of deadly hemorrhagic disease last fall ... areas, including Caroline, King and Queen, King William, Essex and King George, were hard hit in 2012 and again in 2014, resulting in a significant decline in the deer herd ...

...  probably not an albino. “The hooves are dark  ... Deer can also be all or partially white if they are piebald, which results from a different genetic anomaly than the albino gene. Piebald deer may have a few splotches of white hair or be entirely white, but will always have dark eyes and hooves ...

Wildfire generates new life for Shenandoah National Park April 29, 2016 Virginia, newsplex.com
...  Rocky Mount Fire has charred more than 10,000 acres ...  fire is mother nature's way of recycling ... "We'll see new plants and animals ... new grasses new songbirds more whitetail deer ...

Virginia deer harvest increases March 7, 2016 Northern Virginia Daily
... Virginia hunters harvested 209,197 deer in the just-completed 2015-16 season. That’s an increase of 16,919 over last year’s harvest of 192,278. The total included 103,310 antlered bucks (1 ½ years or older), 15,000 button bucks, and 90,887 does...

DGIF releases Virginia deer harvest figures for 2015 February 29, 2016 Virginia, Franklin News Pos
... hunters killed 209,197 deer ... Annual deer kill totals by county dating back to 1947, including the county specific 2015 deer kill totals, can be found at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/harvest/

VA Deer, Bear, Turkey Harvest Data Announced February 22, 2016 Virginia, The Roanoke Star 
... During the 2015-16 deer hunting season, hunters killed 209,197 deer in Virginia. This total included 103,310 antlered bucks, 15,000 button bucks, and 90,887 does (43%)... Stable or declining deer kill trends over the past decade in Virginia were expected ...

... A deer seeking some heat amid the Virginia winter ... Surveillance cameras captured a deer prancing through the aisles ...

Malaria parasite in deer not a threat to hunters February 15, 2016 Virginia, Northern Virginia Daily
...  the parasite levels in the blood of deer tested are so low that they are undetectable by traditional techniques with a light microscope ... Co-author Fleischer says the risk of transmission of this form of malaria to humans is extremely low. Only four of the 100-plus other species of malaria discovered by scientists affect humans. “If it hasn’t yet switched hosts and jumped to humans, it is unlikely to do so now.” ...


Not a big year for bills relating to hunting and fishing February 9, 2016 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... In the 1800s, commercial hunting of deer and ducks played a major role in their decline . For 100 years, it has been illegal to sell venison from wild deer. None of the bills under consideration would change that, but a couple of years ago New Jersey did consider legislation to remove the ban on selling venison... Hunters opposed the idea...

Deer Harvest On Rise January 23, 2016 Virginia, Daily News Record 
... hunters checked in 167,736 deer online this year, which is an increase of 12 percent over last year. Online check-ins account for roughly 80 percent of all deer check-ins in the state ...  numbers are still below the 10-year average ...

Hunters, landowners comment on deer-hunting report January 22, 2016 Virginia, Tidewater News
... “The people in attendance] came here to express their support for hunting with dogs, for ethical hunting and to express their displeasure with this agency and this board,” said Kirby Burch, chief operating officer for the Virginia Hunting Dog Alliance. “There is no evidence that hunting with dogs has caused serious or wide-spread problems...

...  Hundreds of hunters gathered Thursday morning to protest a potential ban that would disallow hunting with dogs... 

Chronic Wasting Disease plan approved for national park January 17, 2016 Virginia, Staunton News Leader
... With the disease being documented 10 miles from the park's northern boundary, the new plan allows for the limited lethal removal of deer ...

Archery added to town's list of deer hunting methods January 15, 2016 Virginia, WHAG
... The present code does not allow any hunting, either by firearm or archery, in the town limits ... The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries recently asked Front Royal officials to allow the use of bows and arrows during deer hunting season, by implementing an Urban Archery Program...

VDGIF releases deer-dog hunting report January 13, 2016 Virginia, Tidewater News
... Eight other states in the southeast — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina — allow deer hunting with dogs, and those that do not cite landowner conflicts as the primary factor for its restriction...  the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in October requested a report for the upcoming January meeting on the issues surrounding deer-dog hunting [read the report]

Deer, dogs, and property rights January 9, 2016 Virginia, Tidewater News
... There is a movement underfoot today in Virginia to either restrict or eliminate the practice of deer hunting with dogs ... The “constitutional right of property ownership” as referred to by the VLA does not prohibit my dogs, or anyone else’s for that matter, from crossing property lines ... 

Bill Cochran Field Reports: Deer kill up 12 percent January 6, 2016 Virginia, The Roanoke Times 
... the tally for all seasons thus far — bow, muzzleloading, firearms — represented a 12-percent increase over the same time period last year. That translates to a 17,997 animals more than the same time last year. The total kill at this point is 167,749...

Trail cameras are extra eyes for conservation police officers January 5, 2016 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... The cameras are motion activated, have night vision, can take HD videos and have the capacity to send pictures directly to a computer or mobile phone. All this at a modest cost...

Warm fall means plenty of food for deer December 30, 2015 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... Deer food is growing in never before seem abundance due to historical December warmth and wetness ... The deer are in as good a shape as they possible can be given the absence of acorns this fall ...

Top outdoors stories of 2015 Deer Rebound December 29, 2015 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... the 2014-15 deer kill dropped more than 20 percent.  ... As of Monday, hunters had reported taking 146,076 deer, about 14,000 more than last year, an 11-percent gain. Included have been an impressive number of trophy bucks...

Virginia deer hunters enjoying 39 percent harvest increase December 12, 2015 The News & Advance 
... Electronic deer harvest as of Dec. 1st for all seasons to date shows a 15-percent increase compared to the same time last year...

... tranquilized and transported to police headquarters. The sterilization procedure takes place in a sterile and secure environment...

A Thanksgiving ritual: Two Va. tribes present deer to governor as tribute November 26, 2015 Virginia, Washington Post
... The Treaty of Middle Plantation in 1677 was specific... 338 years later ... members of their tribes gathered on the driveway of the governor’s mansion and presented its current resident and his wife with two trussed deer ...

Natural Deer Urine Attractants Illegal in Virginia November 24, 2015 Real Radio 804
... the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries adopted a new regulation effective this fall that made it illegal to possess or use deer scents and lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting, or scouting wildlife in Virginia.. to help minimize the risk of introducing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into new areas in Virginia ...

Are there mountain lions in Virginia? November 22, 2015 Roanoke Times
...Should cougars return, farmers with livestock near forests may need guard animals, fencing and protected birthing sites. Hunters may regard cougars as competitors for “their deer” but like the prospect of an additional “trophy” opportunity...

Opening-day deer harvest climbs November 19, 2015 Virginia, Fredericksburg.com
... opening weekend of the general firearms season ... Hunters killed 15,837 deer over the weekend compared to 11,971 in 2014... Speakers challenged Virginia’s “right-to-retrieve” laws whereby people can go unarmed onto another person’s private property without permission to look for their hunting dogs...

YouTube Video


Coyotes' danger to fawns prompts worries about deer season lengths, limits November 13, 2015 Virginia, The Daily Progress
...a 10-year, U.S. Forest Service study conducted in South Carolina that found fawn mortality by coyotes to be “much higher than expected.” The study’s lead researcher, John Kilgo, said if the appetite of coyotes for fawns continues to increase, wildlife agencies in the Southeast will have to factor their predation into their deer management plans...

Pipestem, Controlled deer hunt scheduled at Pipestem Resort State Park November 13, 2015 Virginia, Bluefield Daily Telegraph
... Large numbers of deer ... have lower body weights and lower reproductive rates ... . Deer have been known to walk into buildings and other structures where they can become a hazard.  This lack of fear had made individuals who oppose the hunt question whether the planned harvest can be called a hunt...

Hunters believe coyotes putting the bite on deer population November 10, 2015 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... The most likely place coyotes could impact deer recruitment is in the western mountains of Virginia where mature forests and thin soils make for marginal deer habitat, which is a good description of our national forests...

... Study recommendations include (1) the installation of fencing along the roadside adjacent to existing large underpasses, and (2) an animal advisory message on the dynamic message signs along I-64 in the Afton Mountain area. Messages should be displayed from dusk through dawn from October through November (to correspond with periods of higher deer activity and DVCs). Fencing both sides of just one underpass is expected to result in a savings in costs associated with DVCs of $501,473 over its service life. ..

Deer kill up a modest 6 percent November 8, 2015 Virginia, The Roanoke Times 
... Virginia’s deer kill, including the early bow season, youth weekend and the opening weekend of the muzzleloading season, has reached 27,000, a modest 6-percent increase over last year’s major decline of 21 percent...

Virginia data:  About 810,000 deer in 2015, up from about 740,000 in 2014. The deer harvest for 2014 was down around 21 percent, with the most dramatic declines in the east, indicating a significant drop in the population.  Partly due to the large acorn crop that kept the deer from moving, but also reduced population from predation, disease (EHD), and liberal hunting regulations in previous years.  Climate change may be contributing the the almost 40 percent drop in deer populations in some areas. The 2013 deer population estimated at about 920,000, a decline resulting from increased doe hunting licenses, a poor acorn crop, and a severe outbreak of Hemorrhagic Disease that reduced the herd significantly in some areas starting in late summer of 2012.  A peak population of about 1 million deer in the state for 2012, up from the estimated 900,000 in 2011. About 200,000 taken during deer hunting season.each year. Peak harvest of about 260,000 in 2009. The state maintains balanced demographics with does accounting for about half of the harvest - 48% in 2013. The deer harvest fell by about 40 percent from 2008 to 2014 in Shenandoah County. The overall goal for the state is to keep the deer population stable.  According to the recent state deer plan, the deer population has been relatively stable over the past decade at between 901,000 and 1,117,000.  Virginia deer kill graphic from DGIF, click to enlarge.
     The draft deer management plan for 2015 to 2024 proposes an increase in the deer population on public lands in the Shenandoah Valley and along the Interstate 81 corridor to the southwestern tip of Virginia, and a reduction of the number of deer on private property in Northern Virginia and some other parts of the state.
    There were only about 25,000 deer left in the state in the 1930's after years of over hunting.  Economic hardship drove many hunters into the field during the Great Depression.  Conservation efforts allowed the deer populations to recover during the 1940 to the early 1990's when the deer population reached its current approximate size. Hunting statistics.
    In 2012 16 elk with GPS tracking collars were reintroduced in a pilot program in Buchanan County.  Efforts to reintroduce elk in the early 1900's failed.

Report Poaching:  1-800-237-5712
Report Sick Deer VDGIF  (804) 367-1000

Other useful links:
Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
Deer Information Page, Virginia 
- 21st Century Deer Management for Fairfax County  Humane management of urban deer.
- Southest Virginia Wildlife Center, advice about fawns that may appear to be abandoned but usually are not

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Game and Inland Fisheries News