First of all, the proper term is deer “harvesting,” not kills, for whoever wrote that headline. Second, the hunters of Loudoun County are truly doing their part to manage the deer population, harvesting 6,725 deer in 2011, the third most in the Commonwealth, according to statistics kept by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
We were alerted to this accomplishment by Andrew Sharbel’s piece in the Loudoun Times-Mirror on the business of Virginia deer
killing harvesting. Bedford County was tops in the state in 2010 and 2011, and Southampton County had the second most harvests in both years, according to the detailed numbers posted by the state. The statistics on the website give two different numbers for some counties for last year, and agency spokesman Lee Walker said that the Deer Kill Data (hey!) page here, showing Loudoun with 6,725, is probably more accurate. Historical numbers show that Loudoun actually has topped 7,000 harvests in five previous years, but folks associated with the deer business told Sharbel that the economy has driven down the amount of hunting done recently.
So where do the other NoVa counties rank in deer harvesting? Fairfax County, which uses police officers and other qualified hands to do managed hunts to try to manage the booming (deer) population, had its all-time high last year with 2,002 harvests, more than 400 above its previous record set in 2010. But that was only good for 54th in the state, though Fairfax is first in (human) population. Prince William was close behind with 1,952. More than 231,000 deer were harvested statewide last year, with the total population estimated at about one million.
“It’s a real challenge up in Northern Virginia,” Walker told me. “You have a lot of private land, large land owners. Unless they allow hunting, there’s not a lot of ways to manage the (deer) population.”
Here are NoVa’s deer harvest stats for 2011:
Prince William: 1,952
Fairfax City: 15
Falls Church: 6
Manassas Park: 1