The numbers for the 2014-2015 deer, bear, and turkey hunting season in Virginia are disappointing.
According to a report released by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the numbers for deer and turkey were down. The numbers for the bear season, however, were unexpected.
The big game hunting numbers for deer came in at 190,745, which is a 22 percent decrease from last season’s harvest. This is another example of the recent trend, which has seen an 18 percent reduction in kills over the past 10 years.
New Kent, Prince Edwards, and Henrico counties saw a significant decrease in big game harvests. The turkey harvest numbers totaled 2,988, a 44 percent decrease from last season.
Hunter John Wright told reporters, “Something is going on with the deer herd. Every hunter I talked to just didn’t see the deer that they thought they would.”
One explanation is last season’s acorn crop, which was one of the heaviest ever recorded. A heavy crop results in deer and turkey staying in the woods, because they can forage for food closer to home. Other factors such as disease, predators, and liberal hunting regulations have affected Virginia big game hunting.
On a lighter note, the massive acorn crop led to bears delaying hibernation and staying more active in the fall. Virginia bear season had a record number of 2,405 kills, up from 119 the previous season.