Proposed Regulation Amendment

4VAC15-90-91. Game: Deer. General firearms season either-sex deer hunting days.

Summary

The proposal is to (i) reduce the firearms either-sex deer hunting days in 21 counties and increase either-sex deer hunting days in two counties as outlined in the table below and (ii) modify the description of the area affected by the regulation in Amherst County.

County Change Current Proposed
Accomack Reduce Full Season (43) 27
Amelia Reduce 27 14
Bland (private land) Reduce 7 3
Campbell Increase East (27), West (13) Countywide (43)
Caroline Reduce Full Season (43) 27
Chesterfield Reduce Full Season (43) 14
Chickahominy WMA Increase Buck Only 1
Cumberland Reduce 27 14
Essex Reduce Full Season (43) 27
Gloucester Reduce Full Season (43) 27
Grayson (public land) Reduce 1 Buck Only
Henry Reduce 25 14
King and Queen Reduce Full Season (43) 27
King George Reduce Full Season (43) 27
Northampton Reduce Full Season (43) 27
Nottoway Reduce 27 14
Patrick Reduce 25 14
Powhatan Reduce 27 14
Russell (public land) Reduce 1 Buck Only
Smyth (public land) Reduce 1 Buck Only
Spotsylvania Reduce Full Season (43) 27
Tazewell (public land) Reduce 1 Buck Only
Washington (public land) Reduce 1 Buck Only

Text of Regulation

Rationale

Accomack County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a deer population reduction in Accomack County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past five years (>=25%). Staff considers this reduction to have been adequate based on input from constituents and recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Amelia County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a stable deer population in Amelia County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past five years (>=25%). Staff considers this reduction to have been adequate based on input from constituents and recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Bland County (private lands)

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a deer population reduction on private lands in Bland County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past decade (>=25%). Staff considers this reduction to have been adequate based on input from constituents and recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Campbell County

There is public interest in creating a uniform countywide seven-week, full season either-sex, firearms deer hunting season in Campbell County. The Board proposed establishing this opportunity to gain additional public input on the issue. As part of this change, the late archery and late muzzleloading deer seasons that previously existed in western Campbell County are being deleted.

Caroline County

Either-sex deer hunting days were increased during the last regulations cycle based on input from local government officials. Department staff has received several comments asking that the Department reduce the number of either-sex days back to the 2010 level. Additionally, there was apparently a large mortality event related to HD this past year. The 2012 Caroline County deer kill total was down 23% from 2011. Staff recommends that based on input from constituents female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Chesterfield County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a stable deer population in Chesterfield County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past five years (>=25%). There is interest from the Virginia Deer Hunters Association in reducing either sex deer hunting days in the county. The Board proposed establishing this opportunity to gain additional public input on the issue.

Chickahominy WMA

Chickahominy WMA has been buck only during the firearms deer season for many years. Over time, this has resulted in a large deer population that actually rules out the planting of many wildlife food crops (e.g., sunflowers, etc.) on the area. Staff recommends that female deer kill pressure be increased on this area.

Cumberland County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a stable deer population in Cumberland County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past five years (>=25%). Staff considers this reduction to have been adequate based on input from constituents and recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Essex County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a stable deer population in Essex County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past five years (>=25%). Staff considers this reduction to have been adequate based on input from constituents and recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Gloucester County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for stable deer populations in all counties on the Middle Peninsula except Gloucester County. Several counties on the Middle Peninsula have shown significant declines in the deer population index over the past five years (>=25%). Staff recommends that either-sex deer hunting days be reduced in Gloucester County to create a consistent firearms deer season and regulation on the Middle Peninsula.

Grayson, Russell, Smyth, Tazewell, and Washington counties (public lands)

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for stable deer populations on public lands in Grayson, Russell, Smyth, Tazewell, and Washington counties. Public land deer kills have declined significantly in Grayson, Russell, and Smyth and demonstrated no significant declines in Tazewell and Washington counties. On the basis of these deer kill declines and based on input from constituents, staff recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Henry County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a stable deer population in Henry County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past decade (>=25%). Staff considers this reduction to have been adequate based on input from constituents and recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

King and Queen

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for stable deer populations in all counties on the Middle Peninsula. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past five years in King and Queen County (>=25%). Staff considers this reduction to have been adequate based on input from constituents and recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

King George County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a stable deer population in King George County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a decline in the deer population index over the past five years (>=25%) but that the exponential regression model was not statistically significant (p < 0.10). In fall 2012, the antlered buck kill was down 34% in King George from fall 2011. A significant outbreak of Hemorrhagic Disease is thought to have been a major contributing factor in this decline. There is interest from the Virginia Deer Hunters Association in reducing either sex deer hunting days in the county. The Board proposed establishing this opportunity to gain additional public input on the issue.

Northampton County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a stable deer population in Northampton County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past five years (>=25%). Staff considers this reduction to have been adequate based on input from constituents and recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Nottoway County

Several counties with 27 current either-sex deer hunting days in the Nottoway area and with significantly declining deer population indices are proposed to have their either-sex deer hunting days reduced from 27 to 14 days. Staff recommends that either-sex deer hunting days be reduced in Nottoway County to create a consistent firearms deer season and regulation in the area.

Patrick County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a reduced deer population in Patrick County. Deer kill data indicates that there has been a significant decline in the deer population index over the past decade (>=25%). Staff considers this reduction to have been adequate based on input from constituents and recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Powhatan County

Several counties with 27 current either-sex deer hunting days in the Powhatan area and with significantly declining deer population indices are Proposed to have their either-sex deer hunting days reduced from 27 to 14 days. Staff recommends that either-sex deer hunting days be reduced in Nottoway County to create a consistent firearms deer season and regulation in the area.

Spotsylvania County

The Department's Deer Management Plan calls for a stable deer population in Spotsylvania County and deer kill data indicates that the deer population in the county is stable and low. However, based on input from constituents and local staff, staff recommends that female deer kill pressure be reduced at this time.

Amending language regarding US 29 in Amherst County

US 29 has been used as the dividing line for firearms deer season regulations in Amherst County since the 1940s. In fall 2005, a new bypass around Lynchburg was completed and included a portion of southern Amherst County. This new bypass has been officially designated as US 29. This designation has created confusion regarding the interpretation of the language within this regulation. Amending the wording of this regulation to reflect the new road numbering designations will clarify this issue and maintain the historic dividing line delineating the different firearms deer season regulations in Amherst County.

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