Virginia Deer Population:  An estimated 810,000 deer in 2015, 740,000 in 2014, down from about 920,000 in 2013 and one million in 2012.  The population appears to have fallen in 2016.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Virginia deer hunting data and news archive.   

Virginia Deer News

Virginia bear and turkey kills up, but deer kills down April 27, 2017 Virginia, Southwest Virginia Today
... Stable or declining deer kill trends over the past decade in Virginia were expected, but the ups and downs in recent years’ totals were in some part attributable to mast conditions and/or hemorrhagic-disease outbreaks. The department’s primary deer-management effort over the past decade was to increase the female deer kill over much of the state ...

Prince William approves trail deer hunt on county-owned property April 12, 2017 Virginia, PotomacLocal.com
... “We’re not going to open up the whole park for hunting ... Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi said he was concerned that some of the arrows could cross into private property...

... “We dropped the hammer on the deer herd back around 2007 to 2009,” Knox said.  Liberal doe days were adopted to bring the herd into compliance with its cultural carrying capacity; that is, how many deer the human population will tolerate... 
The survey gave strong support (60 percent) to year-round, supplemental feeding of deer ...

... Baker and his family had been caring for the deer since it was a fawn ... Baker was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries ... Baker's wife shot the deer ...

Charlottesville, City sets aside money for professional deer hunters March 22, 2017 Virginia, The Daily Progress
... Szakos and other councilors said they would be interested in partnering with a nonprofit hunting organization to bowhunt in the city. Staff, however, said the state would not permit such a partnership as it would give the appearance that the city is creating a special hunting club...

Charlottesville City Council Approves Urban Deer Hunting March 20, 2017  Virginia, NBC 29 News
... The city decided to set aside $50,000 for both bow and rifle hunting. Council passed the measure unanimously. Under the plan, councilors have to decide if police officers or professional hunters will be used to curb the deer population...

Chronic Wasting Disease Infecting Deer in Virginia March 15, 2017 Community Idea Stations
... Last year there was a marked increase in the number of cases of Chronic Wasting Disease among deer in Virginia.  Although only detected in the north western part of the state ...

Hunting proposals contain fascinating tidbits March 14, 2017 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... Even with lucrative opportunities to kill a doe, hunters still killed more bucks. The count last season was 77,821 does, which was 43 percent of the total, 89,728 antlered bucks and 12,572 button bucks (young animals with immature antlers)...

Deer and bear hunting harvest down in Rappahannock County March 12, 2017 Virginia, Rappahannock News
... A total harvest of 1584 deer was recorded this just-concluded hunting season, the lowest number since 1998 when 1476 deer were bagged... deer management effort over the past decade was to increase the female deer kill over much of the state, especially on private lands ...

VDGIF considers hunting rule changes March 8, 2017 Virginia, Fredericksburg.com
... Declining deer populations are being addressed. Proposals call for reducing the number of days antlerless deer may be killed on national forest and DGIF lands, and cutting the number of either-sex hunting days in 14 counties, including the entire Northern Neck, and Caroline and Essex counties...

There are three deer in this video. March 6, 2017 Richmond, Virgina


... The goal of the park service is to reduce the rate to 15 to 20 deer per square mile, which could take three to five years to achieve...

Virginia 2016-17 Deer Kill Summary  March, 2017 Virginia DGIF
     During the 2016–17 deer hunting season, hunters killed 180,121 deer in Virginia. This total included 89,728 antlered bucks, 12,572 button bucks, and 77,821 does (43%)....
     Virginia's deer harvest continues to decline March 1, 2017 Fredericksburg.com
... for the 2016-17 season. Numbers again dropped significantly, with hunters killing 180,121 deer in Virginia ... Hunters killed 209,197 deer in Virginia during the 2015-16 season. That was up from the 190,745 taken the year prior. The numbers dropped about 5.5 percent from last year, but are down by 30 percent from nine years ago ...

Major changes proposed for hunting seasons February 28, 2017 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... believes the deer population is in decline. Getting the blame are liberal hunting regulations, predators, disease and habitat degradation... A major proposal calls for bucks-only hunting on national forest and DGIF property. Deer on public land have been in a sharp decline...

... Under the current law, which will remain in effect, it’s a misdemeanor to intentionally release dogs on another person’s land to hunt without the consent of the landowner. However, if a dog is found on another’s property, there usually is not enough evidence to prove the intentional release of that dog...

... a House of Delegates committee on Tuesday advanced legislation to give local courts the power to slap a $100 fine on hunters who let their dogs chase game across others’ property...

Snow getting blame for lower deer kill January 24, 2017 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... The current count is 147,036, which is down 12 percent, or 20,700 deer, from the previous season... A big chunk of the decline is being blamed on the snow...

... HB1900 ... would prohibit dogs from running on someone else's land, provided the landowner had notified the dog's owner verbally, in writing, or with signs or blue paint marks around the property...

Bills would change the cost, and look, of hunting January 17, 2017 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... a bill in the General Assembly that would allow deer hunters to meet safety requirements by wearing pink rather than just the traditional blaze orange...

Bucky the deer did not have rabies January 13, 2017 Virginia, WDBJ7
... Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries made the decision to euthanize a deer that a hunter in Riner tried to rehabilitate, out of fear of paralysis and possibly rabies. The rabies results came back negative...

New bill could hound some deer hunters to control dogs January 11, 2017 Virginia, Fredericksburg.com
... House Bill 1900 ... People who let their dogs run on another person’s land after being given notice to keep dogs out would be subject to a civil penalty of $100 per dog per occurrence...

Deer being rehabilitated by Riner hunter put down Tuesday January 11, 2017 Virginia, WDBJ7... Despite an agreement Parsons believed he had with the officer that the deer could live for seven days to see if it would get better, they decided to kill the deer. VDGIF and the Health Department took the deer before Parsons could get home....         Montgomery County hunter caring for found injured deer January 10, 2017 Virginia, WDBJ7
...  found the young deer after it had tried to jump a fence and hurt itself.  "He was laying pretty much lifeless ... He feeds it, works out its legs, and even set up harnesses to build up strength in its legs...

Vienna, Illegal Deer Hunt Off W&OD Trail in Vienna January 6, 2017 Virginia, Patch.com
... Bow hunting is allowed from elevated tree stands in approved sites Monday through Saturday from 30 minutes prior to sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset... The deer management program is supervised by the Fairfax County Police Department in collaboration with the Fairfax County Park Authority and Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority...

... "There's no question we had a big HD year," VDGIF biologist Matt Knox ... The deer kill is going to be down ...  the department will look to see if regulations need to be changed after the harvest numbers come in this Spring...

... for bow hunters, with requirements such as insurance on private land where this technique is used. The other part of the hybrid involves utilizing city police for sharpshooting on public land... The use of lethal alternatives depends greatly on the community and council perception of safety ...

Culpeper flashback: When deer were rarely seen  December 18, 2016 Virginia, Free Lance-Star
... By the Civil War, or soon after, whitetail tear had been all but hunted out in this area... The deer habitat had been destroyed. Worse yet, there were no hunting seasons and poor country people shot whatever animals they chose whenever ... Bucks were bigger in the 1950s ...

Hunters seeing fewer deer in Virginia December 15, 2016 Virginia, Roanoke Times
... Virginia’s deer kill thus far is estimated to be down 12 percent compared to the same time last season... the problem) might be HD [Hemorrhagic Disease]  again ...

Fairfax, Deer Sterilization Monday and Tuesday in Fairfax December 2, 2016 Virginia, Patch.com
... once does are found, they're actually taken to police headquarters, where they're sterilized, tagged, observed and then released...

Deer hunt scheduled at Widewater State Park this week November 30, 2016 Virginia, Free Lance-Star
... DCR periodically holds managed hunts at state parks in an effort to control the deer population as part of the Deer Management Assistance Program. Implemented in 1988 ...

VDOT Working to Reduce Crashes with Wildlife on Interstate 64 November 21, 2016 Virginia, NBC 29 News
... Fifty-four cameras caught bear and deer along the interstate... VDOT is now seeing if something as simple as a fence can keep wildlife out of the way of traffic... they'll build a fence a half a mile in each direction from the Ivy exit with the goal of funneling the wildlife underneath the interstate ...

Deer hunting forecast is favorable November 12, 2016 Virginia, The Winchester Star
... there isn’t an abundance of food for deer this year, so deer shouldn’t be that hard to find ... the area deer herd could be thinned slightly this year because of a recent outbreak of Hemorrhagic Disease (HD) ... found in southwestern Shenandoah County, but there was a small pocket of HD found in the southwestern corner of Frederick County ...

Police Warn, 'Don't Feed the Deer' November 9, 2016 Virginia, Falls Church News Press
... Feeding deer for any reason is illegal statewide within Virginia from September 1 to the first Saturday in January 5...

During mating season, deer become more visible, active November 5, 2016 Virginia, GoDanRiver.com
... research, which analyzed three years of wildlife activity near Interstate 64 on Afton Mountain, recommended posting messages on electronic signs along I-64 to alert drivers to increased deer activity in the fall...

Deer disease not found in area October 26, 2016 Virginia, Fredericksburg.com
... hunters traipsing through the woods haven’t reported finding deer affected with Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, sometimes called “bluetongue.” ... A total of 16 reports came in from the counties within the Fredericksburg region; this from a total of 184 reports statewide ...


...  State authorities are asking hunters to check regulations before transporting deer after a progressive neurological disease was found in 12 deer harvested in Frederick County and one deer killed on the road in Shenandoah County...

Virginia Deer Forecast for 2016 October 11, 2016 Game & Fish
... several areas in the upper middle peninsula counties in and around Caroline, King and Queen, King William, Essex and in King George, we were hit pretty hard with HD [Hemorrhagic Disease] in fall 2012 and then again in fall 2014. Reports from some DMAP cooperators in these counties indicate that deer herds in some areas are down significantly...

Deer hunting moves to private land October 4, 2016 Virginia, Staunton News Leader
... The number of deer bagged on public land in Augusta County during the last few years has dropped precipitously... “We’ve seen a dramatic decline in the national forests over the last few years," Knox said. "It started falling in 2002 and it has been going way down," ...

Virginia drivers have 1-in-94 chance of hitting a deer September 21, 2016 WDBJ7
... According to State Farm, Virginia drivers have a 1-in-94 chance of hitting a deer in the coming year...

Wildlife goes nuts over abundant acorn crop September 20, 2016 Virginia, GoDanRiver.com
... anecdotal reports from across the state indicate that Mother Nature’s cupboard is pretty well loaded with acorns in most areas this fall... “A heavy mast crop usually results in a decline in our total deer kill,” ... The last five years’ average has been 219,000 ...

Wildlife goes nuts over abundant acorn crop September 20, 2016 Virginia, GoDanRiver.com
... anecdotal reports from across the state indicate that Mother Nature’s cupboard is pretty well loaded with acorns in most areas this fall... “A heavy mast crop usually results in a decline in our total deer kill,” ... The last five years’ average has been 219,000 ...

Charlottesville, City council contemplates urban archery, management techniques September 20, 2016 Virginia, The Daily Progress
... Assistant City Manager Mike Murphy told the council that passing an ordinance to permit residents to bow hunt within city limits is not particularly feasible.  Of the city’s more than 7,000 acres, “we have a total of five acres that might qualify [for urban archery] if you stay 100 yards away from every commercial building, dwelling, roadway or park or trail,” Murphy said. “In the way we use our land, and with our particular density, it’d be extremely difficult.”...

... The odds Virginia drivers will hit a deer in the coming year are 1 in 94. Virginia ranks 13th in the country for the most potential deer collisions...

Paid urban deer hunts; coming soon to Fairfax County neighborhoods September 19, 2016 Virginia, Fairfaxtimes.com
... Outdoor Access, a Richmond startup that launched this month to coincide with the opening of deer season, is matching deer hunters with Fairfax County landowners for privately paid “urban hunts.” ... “We’re giving landowners the chance to make money off their land while hunters are afforded the opportunity to extend their hunting season and hunt in areas that typically aren’t hunted as much,” ...

Ban on deer feeding begins on September 1 August 30, 2016 Virginia, WHSV
... Feeding deer is against the law statewide between September 1 and the first Saturday in January, with even longer restrictions in some areas.  Deer hunting over bait is illegal in Virginia. Prior to the deer feeding prohibition, distinguishing between who was feeding deer and who was hunting over bait often caused law enforcement problems ...

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...

Virginia data:  A big decline in the 2016 deer hunt.  About 810,000 deer in 2015, up from about 740,000 in 2014.  A warm fall in 2015 and abundant deer food allowed deer populations to recover.  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.  
Virginia Deer Population Estimate
     A peak population of about 1 million deer in the state for 2012, up from the estimated 900,000 in 2011.  Population estimate and graphic from 2015-2014 Deer Plan.  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.
     Chronic Wasting Disease An increase in deer found with CWD in 2016, found in the north western part of the state.  First discovered in 2009 in Frederick county.
    Deer populations were hunted to very low levels in the early 1900's and nearly depleted in the western part of the state. There were only about 25,000 deer left in the state in the 1930's.  Deer were brought in from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin during the 1930's.  Economic hardship drove many hunters into the field during the Great Depression.  Conservation efforts allowed the deer populations to recover during the 1940's 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

Game and Inland Fisheries News