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Bear, Deer, Turkey, Harvest Data

2018-19 Bear, Deer, Turkey, Harvest Data Announced

Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries have compiled the preliminary figures for the 2018-19 fall/winter hunting season. The Virginia bear harvests reflected a slight decrease but still the second highest harvest of bears ever in Virginia; deer harvests reflected a slight increase, and the turkey harvests remained about the same.  According to Dr. Gray Anderson, Wildlife Division Chief, “The annual variation in harvest is normal and most populations are healthy and on-track with long-range management plan objectives.” These harvest data are used to inform future regulatory decisions.

For details on the deer, bear and turkey harvest data, visit these links:

  • February 20th, 2019

Virginia’s Urban Archery Season

When I first spotted the mature doe, she was walking idly through the front yard of a Roanoke County suburbanite. By the time the doe was 15 yards from me, I had already trained my crossbow’s scope on her. The shot felt true, and seconds later, the whitetail collapsed about sixty yards away. I had just killed my first deer of the season, and it was still early September.

Welcome to Virginia’s Urban Archery Season which began Saturday, September 1 and continues through October 5 and resumes January 6 through March 31, 2019. Nelson Lafon, deer project leader for the DGIF, believes at least four excellent reasons exist for state sportsmen to participate in this season: it’s a great time to mentor novice adult hunters, take youngsters afield, help manage the state’s deer herd which is often overly abundant in our urban and suburban areas, and gives archers a head start on putting venison in the refrigerator.

This year, Lafon says 52 localities (and they span the state) are participating in the urban season with the town of Buchanan and Stafford and Prince William counties the newest additions. Hunters should be aware that only antlerless deer (both mature does and doe fawns as well as button bucks) can be harvested, and normal deer regulations apply such as tagging and checking.

However, local restrictions apply. For example, in Roanoke County where I predominantly hunt, archers must be afield in a tree stand at least 10 feet above the ground. In Martinsville, archers can only shoot from “temporary platforms elevated at least seven feet above the ground.” In Pearisburg, bow hunters have to be afield on a parcel that is at least two acres and that has been approved by the town manager and chief of police. On the other hand, Poquoson has no special restrictions. I can’t emphasize enough the need to read the specific regulations of the municipality you plan to hunt on. It’s also a good idea to go over those regulations with the folks on whose properties you plan to go afield on.

Paying attention to all these regulations is worth it, though, last year, I had already put three antlerless whitetails in the freezer before the Early Archery Season began. I’ve taken both youngsters and novice adults afield in neighborhood back yards and witnessed their success. In fact, in one case, I experienced the joy of an adult killing his first deer.

So consider participating in Virginia’s Urban Archery Season this year. Chances are whether you’re a rookie adult, a veteran hunter or a youngster, you’ll enjoy your time afield.

Taking someone new with you? Visit Go Outdoors Virginia to Refer a Friend to join you outdoors!

  • September 4th, 2018

Nine New CWD Positives Confirmed in Frederick County

Nine new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) were detected in Frederick County during the 2016 deer hunting season. Seven were deer harvested by hunters and two were killed by vehicles.  All of the new cases were detected in the same general areas as previous cases. In total, 22 CWD-positive deer have been detected in Virginia since CWD was first discovered in western Frederick County in fall 2009.  Read the rest of this article…

  • March 14th, 2017

Virginia’s Locavore Deer Hunters

locavore-deerBy Matt Knox, Deer Project Leader, Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries

If you are a deer hunter in Virginia, there is a greater than 99% chance that you are a locavore deer hunter.  I am guessing at this point that many, maybe a majority, of Virginia deer hunters are asking themselves “What is a locavore deer hunter?” Read the rest of this article…

  • November 21st, 2016

A Report on Deer Hunting with Dogs

On October 15, 2015, the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries requested a report on issues surrounding deer hunting with dogs, potential options to address any issues, and a recommended approach going forward.  This request followed input provided by several members of the Virginia Landowners Association who attended the October 15 meeting.

The newly-revised 2015-2024 Virginia Deer Management Plan directs VDGIF to preserve the heritage and tradition of hunting deer (including with dogs), for both management and recreational benefits, while ensuring that hunting methods are consistent with and respect the rights of private property owners and other citizens. Deer hunting with dogs is an important tradition and deer population management tool in eastern Virginia, but it can generate concerns from other hunters and landowners regarding “trespassing” dogs, trespassing hunters, and hunting from or near roads.

The Board will consider a report from staff at its meeting on Thursday, January 21, 2016, 9:00 AM, at the VDGIF headquarters, 7870 Villa Park Dr., Henrico, VA 23228.

This report does not recommend any regulatory or legislative actions.

  • January 7th, 2016