Virginia Deer News

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:  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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Game and Inland Fisheries News