The Crew- Luray H.S.
Fish & Wildlife Biologists
The Crew's Point of View
We believe that deer herds are not managed
correctly. Lopsided hunting pressures
are creating uneven populations. As the laziest
employees in the Fish and Wildlife
Department, we'd like to see people change some
The ratio of bucks to does in heavily
hunted areas is way off. This is caused by laws
restricting the hunting of does. In areas with few
deer, most hunting laws restrict harvest
to very few does, and bucks only. This only allows
the population to grow slowly. Deer
have polygamous relationships, meaning one buck can
impregnate many does. Theoretically,
the removal of one male deer from a population could
mean five or six less fawn the
following spring. In contrast, the removal of one
doe would mean only one or two less
fawn the next spring. New laws, reversing the old
ways in places with small deer herds,
limiting buck harvest and carefully managing does
would actually help them grow faster.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are
areas that are overrun and rampant with
deer. Hunters in these areas take bucks first and
only think about harvesting does later.
Some areas in Northern Virginia have already enacted
programs, EAB (Earn a Buck), to
help reduce the populations.
Many communities are facing the challenge of
managing locally-overabundant deer
herds in areas closed to hunting. Fencing and
repellents can help manage site-specific
problems; however, these methods may just move deer
and potential damage to other
locations. As long as adequate food resources are
available, deer populations can double in
size every 2-3 years. Eventually some form of
population management is needed to control
herd growth and maintain deer numbers within the
social carrying capacity.
Laws like EAB' need to be applied and enforced in
more places with over large deer herds.
Another solution for overpopulation in urban areas
is an extended archery tackle season.
Many urban homeowners aren't hunters, some
disapprove completely. Media supporting the
controlled harvests and explaining the benefits may
help win over some landowners.
Join the Thoughtful Discussion