6,556 deer harvested in Southampton in 2011

Published 9:46 am Friday, March 2, 2012

COURTLAND—For a second year in a row, Southampton County had the second highest deer harvest among Virginia’s 95 counties.

Hunters for the 2011-12 season took 6,556 deer, according to preliminary numbers compiled by wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

The deer-kill was down from 7,174 in 2010-11 and 7,140 from two years ago.

The numbers come as no surprise to Matt Knox, deer project coordinator for the Department of Game in Forest.

“There’s plenty of deer in Southampton County,” Knox said. “The second (reason for the high number) is the size of the county. When you look at that second place that may be extraordinarily misleading (because Southampton County is among the largest in area in Virginia).

He noted that Pittsylvania is number four in the state for deer-kills and the largest in area.

“The little counties will never be in the top 10,” Knox said. “Isle of Wight County will never make the top 10.”

Isle of Wight County had 2,489 deer harvested in 2011-12; there were 2,728 deer harvested one season earlier.

Knox said he has no idea why the harvest dropped in Southampton County.

“I can say that even thought it was down this year, it’s very stable,” he said.

Sussex County moved into the 10th spot for this past season, with a kill of 3,589, up from 3,519.

Across the state, the white-tailed deer harvest was slightly up from last year, according to the Department of Game. Poor and spotty mast crops across the state this past fall coupled with management actions to meet population objectives all factored into fluctuations in populations and harvest trends.

The harvest figures continue to indicate that good hunting is available across the state.

During the past deer season 231,454 deer were reported killed by hunters in Virginia. This total included 98,770 bucks, 20,738 button bucks and 111,830 doe. The fall 2011 deer kill total was up 4 percent. It is in line with the last 10-year average of 230,850.

Deer kill levels were down two percent in Tidewater and up everywhere else in the state.

Archers, not including crossbow hunters, killed 17,110 deer. The bow kill comprised 7 percent of the total deer kill. Crossbows resulted in a deer kill of 10,877 deer or 5 percent of the total deer kill. Muzzleloader hunters killed 55,306 deer or 24 percent of the total deer kill.

Over 166,000 deer were checked using the Department’s telephone and Internet checking systems.

The Department’s deer management efforts over the past five years to increase the female deer kill over much of the state, especially on private lands, has been very successful. Female deer kill numbers have been at record levels for the past five consecutive deer seasons. These high and sustained female deer kill levels were intended to eventually lead to a decrease in the statewide deer herd and a decline in total deer kill numbers.