VA. Hunters Have Record Bear and Deer Harvests in 2008-09

Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) have compiled preliminary figures for bear, deer and turkey harvests for the 2008-09 fall seasons. Wildlife Division Director Robert Ellis commented, “Notable results of the 2008-09 seasons include record black bear and white-tailed deer harvests. While the fall turkey harvest was down, clearly there is good hunting to be had in the Commonwealth.”

Black Bear — A record number of 2,204 bears were harvested during the 2008-09 Virginia bear seasons. The figure represents the combined kill from archery, muzzleloader, and firearms. Bear Project Leader Jaime Sajecki, noted, “This year’s record harvest was 35% higher than the previous record of 1,633 bears set in the 2006-07 bear seasons.” The harvest in 2007-08 was 1,517 bears. West Virginia also had a record bear harvest this year. Read more »

White-tailed Deer — During the 2008-09 deer season, a total of 253,678 deer were harvested by hunters in Virginia. Deer Project Leader Matt Knox, announced, “This new record represents a 4% increase from the 242,792 deer reported killed last year. The harvest is also 16% higher than the last 10 year average of 212,780 deer killed by hunters.” Read more »

Fall Wild Turkey — Fall turkey hunters harvested 3,505 birds in the 2008-09 season. This was 26% below last year’s reported kill (4,759 wild turkeys). Small Game Furbearer Program Manager Gary Norman indicated the harvest decline was a result of several factors including poor reproduction, good mast conditions and fall season regulation changes. Read more »

The Department would like to thank those hunters and game check stations for providing the wing feather samples so reproduction can be monitored. These data help the Department gain a better understanding of turkey population trends and harvests.

For more information about Black Bear, White-tailed Deer and Wild Turkeys, visit the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website. The website also contains information about wildlife management, hunting regulations and hunting opportunities within the Commonwealth.

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