Is your hunting area the best in the state? Here's what the data shows.
Virginia hunters during the 2013-2014 seasons harvested 242,734 deer, according to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF).
The harvest data shows an increase, uniformly spread across the state, of 27,493 deer taken over the prior season. Biologists at the DGIF have provided hunting outlook data for the coming season by region. The harvest data and combination of a wet summer should allow for prime deer hunting this season.
The Tidewater region of Virginia has experienced an increase in population and harvest rates in the last few years. The deer in this region have bounced back from massive hemorrhagic disease outbreaks in the early 2000s.
The presence of the healthy deer herd, habitat variety, and decent soils show this to be a prime deer hunting region within the state. If you are hunting this region you will certainly have opportunities to fill your tags.
The Southern piedmont Region will be an excellent area to hunt this coming season. Data shows an increase in the deer population. An urban archery season is now in effect which will give hunters more opportunities to fill tags.
Smith Mountain Lake State Park is offering reservation hunts to help reduce the population in the park. Overall, this region can provide you with ample harvest opportunities this season.
Southern Mountain Region
Virginia's Southern Mountain Region is mountainous but can still provide ample harvest opportunities to hunters. The two best counties to hunt this year would be Scott and Grayson. These two counties have shown to have healthy herds and the connection between agricultural land and mountainous areas should help hunters see deer.
Hunting here may be difficult due to the mountainous regions so knocking on farmer's doors may be a good way to produce better hunting opportunities.
Northern Mountain Region
The Northern Mountain Region area is a great mix of pasture, woods, orchards, and river bottoms. The top counties to hunt this year, based on the previous year's data, would be Clarke, Frederick, and Shenandoah.
The deer density in these areas is higher than most areas in Virginia. High deer density and the abundance of crop fields should make this region a great bet for hunters.
Northern Piedmont Region
Virginia's Northern Piedmont Region is the state's best area to hunt based on harvest data. The region has some area with seasons from September to March. The added antlerless seasons in September and January through March give hunters ample opportunities to harvest deer. Public land in the area is quite good and hunters should take advantage of the opportunities it provides.
Overall, this season's hunting outlook projects an excellent year for hunters. Deer numbers have increased and the mast crop should be much better than last year's failure.