Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) have compiled preliminary figures for deer, turkey, and bear harvests for the 2010-11 fall/winter hunting seasons.
According to VDGIF, white-tailed deer, bear and wild turkey harvests all declined this year from the previous year. Exceptional acorn crops across the state coupled with other environmental conditions both this year and last as well as management actions to meet population objectives all factored into fluctuations in populations and harvest trends. The harvest figures continue to indicate that good hunting is available across the Commonwealth for these popular game species.
During the past deer season 219,797 deer were reported killed by hunters in Virginia. This total included 95,543 antlered bucks, 19,191 button bucks, and 105,063 does (47.8%). The fall 2010 deer kill total was 15% lower than the 259,147 deer reported killed last year. It is 3% lower than the last 10 year average of 227,430.
During the 2010-11 bear seasons 2,221 bears were reported killed during the archery, muzzleloader, and firearms seasons. The 2010 harvest was a 3.6% decrease from last year's kill of 2,304, but similar to the 2008 harvest of 2,204 bears. In 2010, bears were harvested in 69 counties with successful bear hunters coming from 18 states other than Virginia. Equaling the average over the last five years, female bears, or sows, represented 39% of the 2010 harvest, which was less than the 42% sows in the 2009 harvest.
FALL WILD TURKEY
In Virginia, 2,687 turkeys were harvested during the 2010-2011 fall turkey season. This harvest was 24% below last year's reported kill of 3,538 birds. The harvest declined 34% in counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains (1,664 last year versus 1,102 this year). Counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains decreased 15 percent (1,874 vs. 1,585). Bedford led all counties with a harvest of 92 birds. Most of the harvest was reported on private lands.