Wildlife biologists with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) have compiled preliminary figures for the 2022–2023 hunting season. Not unexpectedly, deer harvests decreased from the previous season.
For the local deer harvest, both Accomack and Northampton saw declines, but Northampton’s was much more drastic. Accomack saw only three fewer deer harvested in 2022, down from 3,130 to 3,127 total. Hunters in Accomack harvested more does and young bucks, but harvested fewer mature bucks.
In Northampton, the total deer harvest fell by 12%(160). Fewer does and bucks were harvested.
During the 2022–23 deer hunting season, hunters harvested 184,968 deer in Virginia, down approximately 3% from the 190,582 deer taken during the same time frame the previous season. This year’s total included 90,242 antlered bucks, 1,113 bucks that had shed their antlers, 11,921 button bucks, and 81,692 does (44%).
According to Dr. Gray Anderson, Wildlife Division Chief, “In addition to recent hunting seasons designed to reduce populations in some areas, harvest decreases observed this past season could be related to several factors outside of managers’ control: hunter participation, weather, and particularly, food conditions. This past fall saw an abundant acorn crop that was widespread across much of the state, likely leading game to move less in search of food and making them less visible and vulnerable to hunters.”
Data presented in this summary are preliminary and do not include deer taken during the late urban archery or special late antlerless-only deer seasons. Data also do not include deer taken on out-of-season deer kill permits or those deer hit and killed by vehicles. For more information on deer management in Virginia, please visit the deer section of this website.