Hunters concerned over decline in national forest deer June 24, 2011 Virginia

Hunters concerned over decline in national forest deer  June 24, 2011  Virginia  Population  by Bill Cochran

Bath County once was the jewel of Virginia's deer hunting. No longer. The deer herd and harvest have plummeted, especially on national forest land,... Since the mid-1990s, there has been a 50 percent decline in the deer kill on public land west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The quality of deer habitat on the national forest has declined. The once succulent under story that was the result of timber harvests, fires and wildlife work, has matured into contiguous blocks of aging hardwoods. Environmentalists love what is happening, but it doesn’t make good deer habitat, and the same can be said of other species, especially grouse.
Old growth forest becomes a deer desert when there is a mast failure, like in 2007, 2008 and 2009... An urban area with houses, gardens and ornamentals provides better deer habitat than a mature forest, said DGIF biologist Al Bourgeois....

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