Black powder season for deer has started, rabbit season starts next week, and it seems as good a time as any to revue wildlife numbers for my home state of Virginia.
Deer: During the 2003 deer season 237,035 deer were reported killed by hunters in Virginia. This total included 116,629 antlered bucks, 22,346 button bucks, 94,897 does (40.6%) and 3,163 deer of undocumented sex. The 2003 kill figure represents a 10% increase from the 214,847 deer
reported killed in 2002. Archers, including crossbow hunters, killed 17,134 deer, and muzzleloader hunters killed 52,779 deer.
Bears: During the 2003-2004 hunting season 1,510 black bears were reported killed by bear hunters, a new record. This harvest represents an increase of 62% from the previous harvest of 932, and a 51% increase from the previous record of 1,000 in 2000-2001. The total included 904
males (59.9%), 599 females (39.7%) and 7 of unknown sex (0.5%). Harvest west of the Blue Ridge Mountains totaled 1,067 (70.7% of total) bears.
Fall Turkey: Fall turkey hunters reported a harvest of 6,556 birds in the 2003-04 season. This harvest was 19 percent below last years reported kill (8,084), and is likely due to poor reproduction over the past several years due to inclement weather during spring nesting and brood
Spring Turkey: Spring gobbler hunters harvesting 14,388 birds during the 2004 season, 20% fewer than last year’s total of 17,988, again due to several years of inclement weather which has slowed breeding. The population age structure of Virginia's turkeys is now weighted towards older birds (3+ years) which tend to gobble less and are a little harder to hunt.