2018–2019 Deer Kill Summary
During the 2018–19 deer hunting season that ended January 5, hunters harvested 190,636 deer in Virginia. This total included 96,239 antlered bucks, 12,342 button bucks, and 82,055 does (43%).
The youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend resulted in a harvest of 2,778 deer. The archery season harvest was 26,676 deer while hunters took 43,749 deer during the muzzleloader season. For the first time since crossbows became legal for all deer hunters in fall 2005, the number of deer taken with crossbows exceeded the number taken with traditional bows. Firearms deer season (rifles and shotguns) resulted in a deer harvest of 120,074 deer or 63% of the total. In the 59 eastern counties where dogs may be used to hunt deer, deer hunting with dogs accounted for approximately 51% of the total firearms deer harvest and ranged from just a few percent in northern Virginia up to 80-90% in some Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula, and Virginia’s southeastern counties. Approximately 161,800 deer (85%) were checked using the Department’s electronic telephone and online checking through the Go Outdoors Virginia portal.
According to Deer Project Coordinator, Matt Knox, he expected the fall 2018 deer harvest total might be down for two reasons. First, much of the Commonwealth experienced heavy rain and/or high winds on several of the big deer hunting weekends. Second, the continued steady decline in the number of licensed deer hunters in Virginia could result in fewer deer being harvested. A portion of this decline appears to be related to the “baby boomers” get older and retiring from hunting. Annual deer harvest totals by county dating back to 1947, including the county specific 2018 deer harvest totals, can be found on the DGIF website.
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 taken on out-of-season deer kill permits or those deer hit and killed by vehicles. Persons interested in more information on Virginia’s deer management program can find the Department’s deer management plan.