Virginia Deer News

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Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina — allow deer hunting with dogs, and those that do not cite landowner conflicts as the primary factor for its restriction...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...

...  There have been 10 cases of "chronic wasting disease" on record in Virginia ... if you hunt and kill a deer within a designated four-county area, you have to check it in at one of their authorized stations to get tested.... Shenandoah, Clarke, Frederick and Warren counties...

Amazing candid video of an albino deer surprising a wild fox in the Fry's Spring neighborhood, in Charlottesville, Virginia.


New group calls for registration of deer dogs November 4, 2015 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... Hunting deer with dogs is illegal in the western half of the state, but it is a long-held tradition in the east, often traced back to Colonial Days.  Unlike most states, Virginia has a “right-to-retrieve” law that allows hunters to retrieve their dogs from private property without having to obtain permission of the landowner...

Lake Ridge, Deer hunting in Lake Ridge to begin as early as next week November 3, 2015 Virginia, Inside Nova
... The Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association will host a "fireside chat” Monday evening to discuss deer management in the community -- and bow-hunting could begin as soon as Tuesday, Nov. 10...

2015 Trophy Deer Forecast: Virginia October 21, 2015 Game & Fish
... Several factors likely contributed to the decline in the harvest. Hemorrhagic disease (HD) killed both bucks and does in many areas of eastern and southern Virginia last summer. Virginia also experienced a very good mast crop. These two factors alone reduced deer sightings quite a bit...

Deer management plan not just a hunting document October 21, 2015 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... The board of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has endorsed a 136-page deer management plan [link to page] that is designed to guide the state’s deer program through 2024... Public input included concern over the declining number of deer, lack of quality bucks, landowner-dog hunter conflicts ... [link to the plan PDF]

Landowner group wants hound hunting changes October 21, 2015 Louisiana, The Virginian-Pilot
... The Virginia Landowners Association ...  believes a regulation modeled after Florida’s regulation is the right solution for Virginia. The Florida deer dog permit/registration system requires mandatory registration of clubs or individuals planning to hunt deer with dogs... a meaningful solution that allows deer dog hunting to continue while respecting the rights of landowners ...

Virginia leading on driverless-vehicle efforts October 18, 2015 The Daily Progress
... A high-tech camera on the Smart Road that could one day be deployed along public roads can detect and alert drivers to foreign objects entering the roadway, such as deer...

...  we have cut the doe days in numerous counties, mostly in eastern Virginia” said Knox. “It will take three to five years for these changes to get traction.”  As for this year’s mast crop, it doesn’t come close to last fall’s rain of acorns. A lackluster acorn crop puts deer on the move and into the fields, making them more likely to stride into the range of a hunter...

Virginians: 1 in 88 Chance of a Vehicle Striking a Deer September 23, 2015 Patch.com
... The likelihood of a vehicle collision with deer has decreased since 2014 in Virginia, according to new claims data from State Farm... a 9.3 percent decrease from 2014 ...

Virginia Deer Forecast for 2015 September 1, 2015 Game & Fish
... the deer management plan for a majority of the state has for a number of years called for stabilizing or decreasing the deer herd ... The Tidewater Region arguably has the best deer habitat in the state. Swamps and river bottoms give deer a number of places to hide, eat and breed... 

Tough hunting results in fewer big game trophies August 25, 2015 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... a 16-percent decline in the deer kill west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and a 24-percent drop in the east... Biologists point to a number of factors, including disease in the herd, a massive acorn crop that kept deer scattered, predation, fewer hunters and liberal hunting regulations in previous years that trimmed the herd...

Albino deer is a legend for the Chickasaw Nation August 14, 2014 Virginia, WWBT-TV NBC 12 
... young warrior for the Chickasaw Nation fell in love with the daughter of a chief... "Bring me the hide of the White Deer," ... Bright Moon would often see the white deer in the smoke of the campfire, running, with an arrow in his heart...

... Fairfax County will once again use an archery program to control the deer population in county parks...  The program was approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2000 ...

New group advocates more young forest habitat July 24, 205 Virginia, HeraldCourier.com
...  Virginia Wildlife Habitat Coalition ... “ ...Virginia’s public forest are remarkable out of balance in terms of age class — way too much older growth..  many game and non-game species will continue to decline ...

Ban on deer urine scents in effect July 13, 2015 Virginia,  Northern Virginia Daily 
... To reduce the chance of spreading Chronic Wasting Disease ... banned the use of urine-based deer scents in the state by hunters... Eight cases have been discovered in Frederick. More recently, two cases were reported in 2014 in Shenandoah County ...

Plan on statewide deer management being finalized July 9, 2015 Virginia, Fredericksburg.com
... The deer population in Virginia has stayed relatively stable over the past decade at between 901,000 and 1,117,000, according to the plan ... In 2013, there were approximately 226,000 licensed deer hunters in Virginia. In 1995, there were more than 289,800...

Gerald Almy: Prime time for Brassicas July 6, 2015 Virginia, Northern Virginia Daily
... July through September is the time to get these plants in the ground. Brassicas include plants such as kale, turnips, rape, radishes and others. They have become extremely popular among food plot managers because they are easy to grow, provide tremendous amounts of protein and are fed on well by deer...

Man cited, warned after killing deer July 2, 2015 Virginia, Times West Virginian 
... shooting and killing a deer in a residential area in Fairmont...  the penalty for killing a deer in closed season ranges from a $20 to $300 fine or 10-100 days in jail ...

... as of July 1, 2015, it will be illegal to possess or use deer scents/ lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting or scouting wildlife in Virginia.  This new regulation has been put into place to try to combat the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) ...

Ban on urine-based scent in deer hunting causes a stink June 23, 2015 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... DGIF officials say the intent of the new regulation is to keep the highly contagious and deadly chronic wasting disease from spreading in Virginia’s deer herd. Thus far, the agency has spent over $1 million on CWD monitoring and management efforts...

Hunters verify that it was a so-so deer season June 19, 2015 Virginia, GoDanRiver.com
... Some 69 percent said the deer herd they hunted had declined; 52 percent rated the herd as being low...  the kill was down about 21 percent from the previous season. Neighboring states also saw a decline, North Carolina 18 percent, and West Virginia 31 percent...

Virginia seeks feedback on Deer Management Plan June 11, 2015 Virginia, WTOP
... The draft Deer Management Plan released by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries this week is open for comment through July 10... The plan calls for efforts to reduce the number of deer living on private property in Northern Virginia and many other parts of the state, while increasing the deer population living on public lands in the Shenandoah Valley and down the Interstate 81 corridor to the southwestern tip of Virginia...

... The Virginia Board of Game and Inland Fisheries made a decision at its June 2 meeting to allow elk hunting in 28 counties, pending a clear elk management plan ... In 2012 the game department re-established about 75 elk in Buchanan County ...
     The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF) invites public input on the Draft Virginia Deer Management Plan, which will be available for review June 10 – July 10, 2015, on the agency's website. The first Virginia Deer Management Plan, completed in 1999, has been revised twice through the involvement of public stakeholders and managers of deer. Because DGIF's mission is "to serve the needs of the Commonwealth," it is important that the process used to develop and revise the Deer Plan incorporates both public values (e.g., economic, sociological, and political) and biological considerations.
     The revised Virginia Deer Management Plan will guide deer management across the Commonwealth through 2024. This plan describes the history of white-tailed deer management, current status (supply and demand) of the deer resource and management programs, and the future of the deer management program in Virginia. The plan identifies a framework of what needs to be done, how it should be done, and when it should be done.
     Guided by the DGIF mission, the Virginia Deer Management Plan includes four goals which specify the general directions for: (1) deer populations, (2) deer-related recreation, (3) deer-related damage, and (4) deer habitat. Specific objectives help guide the attainment of each goal. Potential strategies then clarify how each objective could be achieved, but without delving into the operational details. By clarifying goals and directions of deer management, this plan will assist the DGIF Board of Directors, DGIF administrators and staff, and the public in addressing deer issues.

5 Deer resistant shrubs for your consideration May 29, 2015 Virginia, The Roanoke Times
... Berberis: Aka Barberry ... Mahonia: Aka Oregon grape holly ... Itea: Aka Virginia Sweetspire ... Cotinus: Aka Smoke tree ... Boxwood ...

... fawns are left alone for the first two weeks of their life because they can't keep up with their mothers... [contact the Southwest Virginia Wildlife Center for advice]

Deer teaches a lesson May 13, 2015 Virginia, The Roanoke Times
... I first spotted her last fall ... a lame deer.  She'd never make it through the winter... a couple of weeks ago ... it was her.  Eating my phlox ... balanced on three legs ... I hope to see her again ... 

Best seeds to plant for summer food plots May 11, 2015 Virginia, Northern Virginia Dail
... The three best choices for summer annuals according to food plot experts with the Quality Deer Management Association are cowpeas, soybeans and lablab... Plant these seeds ½ to 1 inch deep, after making sure the pH level is adequate (6.0 or higher) and adding a fertilizer such as 5-10-10 or similar...

... The Lake Ridge Parks and Recreation Association is conducting a survey to determine how many members, residents or staff are interested in qualifying to participate in a pilot program to manage the community's deer population...

Accomack committee acts on deer hunting with dogs May 1, 2015 Virginia, Delmarva Daily Times
... proposals range from banning deer hunting with dogs in the county outright, to banning it for the first 14 days of the firearm season, to splitting the season evenly between still hunters and dog hunters... would not be taken up by the department until 2017 ...

Wasting disease prompts extreme measures April 27, 2015 Virginia, Northern Virginia Daily
... chronic wasting disease.  In response to a positive case detected in Shenandoah County ...  licensed veterinary rehabilitators within those counties ... could no longer rehabilitate young deer — or fawns — in those counties... McRuer said that, while the Wildlife Center of Virginia does agree with the implementation of containment area ... “I think the answer is to allow fawns to be rehabilitated within the disease management zone, but they must be released within [that zone],” ...

... The more coyotes you kill, the more you have. ...  trees may be more of a problem for deer hunters than predators. Much of the woodlands of Western Virginia have matured over the past century or so, pushing deer herds to find better food sources elsewhere... 

Virginia Tech study shows adaptability of coyotes April 13, 2015 Virginia, Roanoke Times
...  one particularly surprising finding: Bobcats eat a lot of deer, and there may be more bobcats in the woods than biologists thought ... Kelly said that when a deer herd is already in decline, it’s possible that predator pressure, such as coyotes taking fawns, could have an effect. But coyote typically do not cause the population declines. Those are governed by larger factors, like food availability... 

Deer harvest plummets statewide April 10, 2015 Virginia, The News Leader
... Statewide, the number of deer killed during the 2014 hunting season was down 22 percent from the previous year, with the most significant reduction in eastern Virginia... Disease, predators, a small acorn crop two years ago and extra doe days are some of the reasons ...

Battlefield conversions: Hunters see climate changing their traditions April 7, 2015 Virginia, Environment Energy Publishing 
...  In some counties, deer populations were down 40 percent, but connecting those changes to climate change for a conservative constituency -- now, that's a challenge... Conservation Hawks, has set out to explain the science and communicate that climate change is responsible for the changes they are seeing ...

Looking for shed deer antlers March 31, 2015 Virginia, Northern Virginia Daily
... Deer in the Shenandoah Valley typically lose their antlers in February and March... Searching for cast off deer antlers has become increasingly popular in the Shenandoah Valley... Chances are good that when you find a shed, you have found part of the core home range of the deer that dropped it...

Wildlife officials want to ban use of deer urine in hunting March 18, 2015 Virginia, Roanoke Times 
...  has been asking hunters not to use doe urine to mask their scent or attract a buck, because the commercially sold commodity has potential to spread the deadly chronic wasting disease.... are considering a proposal to ban the use of the product...

Va. deer harvest plummets March 16, 2015 Virginia, Northern Virginia Daily
...  The 2014-15 kill was down a whopping 22 percent from the 244,440 harvested the previous year... especially pronounced in eastern Virginia. The kill east of the Blue Ridge Mountains plummeted 24 percent. West of the Blue Ridge the harvest was down 16 percent...

Coyote Hunting Tournament To Control Population March 14, 2015 Virginia, newsplex.com
... The Coyote population that has exploded in recent years has taken a toll on the local deer population... More than 50 people have already signed up for the tournament that spans all across the Commonwealth, but focuses mainly in Central Virginia...

Fall hunting data released by state March 11, 2015 Virginia, Northern Virginia Daily
... the deer harvest was lower than expected and “one of the most significant drops” the department has seen for one year.  The official report from the department showed 190,745 deer harvested in 2014, a 22 percent drop from the 244,440 tally from 2013... still left the deer population above what Lafon described as the cultural caring capacity ...

Chronic Wasting Disease Nears Shenandoah Park March 6, 2015 Virginia, crozetgazette.com
... In 2009 it was discovered about 23 miles away from the park...  most of the deer in the park are around Big Meadows. Coyotes have come back in the park and are suppressing the deer population...  now “We realize that some ecosystems are fire-dependent,” ...

Disease outbreak prompts 'containment area' expansion March 5, 2015 Virginia, Fredericksburg.com
... The deer that prompted the expansion was a 2-year-old buck that was killed by a vehicle in Shenandoah County, close to the Frederick County line. Two other CWD-positive adult bucks were killed by hunters in eastern Frederick County ...

Deer disease detected in Shenandoah County March 4, 2015 Virginia, Northern Virginia Daily
     The slow progression of chronic wasting disease has made its way to Shenandoah County, and two positive cases were detected in Frederick County, near the West Virginia state line... This latest positive sample is the 10th confirmed case of chronic wasting disease in the state since it was first reported in 2009. ...

... the hunters claim their neighbor is “purposely allowing and/or inability to control dogs, causing me significant loss of income.”
 ...
3 new cases of chronic wasting disease detected in Va. deer February 28, 2015 Virginia, Washington Post
... three new cases of chronic wasting disease were detected in white-tailed deer in northwestern Virginia during the 2014 hunting season...

Virginia hunting for 2014/2015: Deer numbers down February 27, 2015 HamptonRoads.com
... Virginia’s harvest of 190,745 was down 22 percent from the 2013 take of 244,440, and 18 percent below the 10-year average of 233,350. The decline was worse (24 percent) east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, than west (16 percent)...

Deer, bear, turkey harvest data announced February 24, 2015 Virginia, Tidewater Review 
... During the past deer season 190,745 deer were reported killed by deer hunters in Virginia. This total included 88,148 antlered bucks, 14,592 button bucks, 87,937 does (46%) and 68 unclassified deer. The fall 2014 deer kill total was down 22% from the 244,440 deer reported killed last year. It is also 18% below the last ten year average of 233,350...

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.  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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