Archery hunters killed 27,630 deer…muzzleloader hunters shot 48,811 animals…and firearms hunters (rifles and shotguns) shot 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.
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 doe 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.
The late spring of 2018 has the woods still brown and open, with “green up” still a good week or two away. Conditions are great for one last day or two of shed hunting in an around bedding areas.
Hit the woods, find a deer trail and follow it until you come to a thick and obvious area where deer stage and/or bed. Back in the fall hunting season you would have stopped, tested the wind and worked the outer fringes of such a sanctuary so as not to spook any deer. But now, plow right in.
Go slow and look close for brown or white bones. If you hit 3 or 4 good bedding sites one day this week, I bet you’ll find one or 2, and maybe a big one.
While you’re at it, note the rub lines, old scrapes and trails you’ll probably find in and around the cover. Get an idea of the easiest and best-hidden routes a mature buck uses to enter and exit the cover according to various winds. That intel will help when you come back to hunt the area this fall.
This graphic from the Mississippi State Deer Lab shows the entire antler growth cycle…here we focus on spring growth, what is happening right now:
New antler growth resumes about 3 weeks after (old) antler drop, on a scab that has formed over the pedicles. A growing antler is covered with velvet and grows from the tip. Antler growth is slow during April-May and becomes more rapid during June-July, especially in older bucks.