2016–2017 Deer Kill Summary

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%).

The youth deer hunting day in September, which was extended to the entire weekend in 2015, resulted in a kill of 2,220 deer. Archers, not including crossbow hunters, killed 14,977 deer, comprising 8% of the total deer kill. Crossbows accounted for 12,354 deer or 7% of the total deer kill. Muzzleloader hunters killed 47,947 deer or 27% of the total deer kill. Approximately 147,000 deer (82%) were checked using the Department’s telephone and internet checking systems.

Annual deer kill totals by county dating back to 1947, including the county specific 2016 deer kill totals, can be found on the Deer Kill Data page.

Stable or declining deer kill trends over the past decade in Virginia were expected, but the ups and downs in recent years’ deer kill 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, especially on private lands, to meet the deer population objectives of stabilizing or reducing deer populations as identified in the Department’s deer management plan. The Department’s deer management staff anticipated that these high and sustained female deer kill levels would eventually lead to a decrease in the statewide deer herd and stable to declining total deer kill numbers experienced over the past decade.

Persons interested in more information on Virginia’s deer management program can read the Department’s deer management plan.

Data presented in this summary are preliminary and do not include deer taken during the late urban archery or special late antlerless-only deer seasons. Data also do not include deer killed on out-of-season kill permits or those deer hit and killed by vehicles.

Virginia Deer Harvest, 1947–present