2017–2018 Deer Kill Summary

During the 2017–18 deer hunting season, hunters harvested 189,730 deer in Virginia. This total included 95,474 antlered bucks, 12,822 button bucks, and 81,434 does (43%).

The youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend resulted in a harvest of 2,954 deer. The archery season harvest was 27,630 deer while hunters took 48,811 deer during the muzzleloader season. Firearms deer season (rifles and shotguns) resulted in a deer harvest of 113,169 deer or 60% of the total. Deer hunting with dogs accounted for approximately 54% of the total firearms deer harvest in the 59 eastern counties where deer-dog hunting is legal. In areas where hunting deer with dogs is legal, the percentage of deer harvested using dogs ranged from just a few percent in northern Virginia to nearly 90% on the Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, and Virginia’s southeastern counties. Approximately 157,500 deer (83%) were checked using the Department’s electronic telephone and online checking through the Go Outdoors Virginia portal.

According to Deer Project Coordinator Matt Knox, the stable or declining deer harvest trends experienced in most Virginia counties over the past decade were expected. Knox further noted that the Department’s primary deer management effort over the past decade had been to increase the female deer harvest over much of the state, especially on private lands in eastern Virginia, to meet the deer population objectives of stabilizing or reducing deer populations found in the Department’s deer management plan. Annual deer harvest totals by county dating back to 1947, including the county-specific 2017 deer harvest totals, can be found online.

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 harvested on out-of-season kill permits or those deer hit and killed by vehicles. Persons interested in more information on Virginia’s deer management program can read the Department’s deer management plan.

Virginia Deer Harvest, 1947–present