Tuesday, October 15, 2013


    Reports from the 2013 youth deer hunting day indicate an exceptionally large harvest, the largest in the tradition’s five-year history.  

1,911 deer were checked via phone and the internet system, an increase of approximately 45% from 2012; and VDGIF Deer Project Coordinator, W. Matt Knox estimates at least 700 additional animals checked at game check stations across the state will raise the harvest number to about 2,600, pending the end of the season in January when these stations turn in their records.

    There are suspected reasons for this somewhat drastic increase in harvest.  September 28 was a day of tradition for many young hunters, but with a new twist.  New this year, Virginians hunting under an apprentice license, the VDGIF’s two-year license for beginning “apprentice” hunters, were also allowed to hunt on what is now called the “youth/apprentice hunting day.”  This increased the number of hunters afield by about 50%.

    In terms of deer killed per licensed and eligible hunter, the numbers still reveal an increase in success from 2012, but only as slight as a half of a percent.

    Moreover, in past years, and this year, deer kill numbers from the urban archery season and Northern Virginia season are also counted in the overall tally.  Also new this year, the Northern Virginia deer season, currently underway, now allows the use of firearms, as opposed to strictly archery equipment.  Because of this change, the resulting numbers were likely skewed minimally.

    Still, Central Virginians scored rather averagely in terms of harvest numbers.  Buckingham’s youth/apprentice hunters took 10 deer, Albemarle’s (including Charlottesville’s) took 16, Fluvanna’s took 14, and Nelson’s took 13, all excluding estimates on animal numbers checked at check stations.

    In all, Virginia’s youth, and now apprentice, hunting day is continuing to grow in success, with the numbers to prove it.  We can be hopeful that the new change in legislation will only add to this success, recruiting more novice hunters to the woods where their lives may be changed forever.

What About Bear?

    Not only were apprentice licensed hunters permitted to hunt on this year’s youth/apprentice day, a new species was added to the “in season” list as well—bear.

    Unlike deer, bear must be checked at a game check station, so that biologists can retrieve the premolar for aging and population reconstruction and management.  This means that harvest numbers cannot be accurately reported until the close of the season in January when check cards are collected.  However, Virginia’s reputation for having the best, longest-running, and most comprehensive population reconstruction information system in the East surely outshines this slight inconvenience.

    We do know, however, that one at least one bear was taken in Central Virginia on youth/apprentice day.  Steve Morgan Jr.’s beautiful 260-plus-pound black bear, taken in central Albemarle County, is a prime example of what youth and apprentice hunting days aim to provide.  Congratulations, Steve, on a great harvest!

     Other photos, stories, or both can be submitted via the website or Facebook page.

Trout on the Rise

    In the Old Dominion, October means hunting—deer, bear, and squirrel.  But as the temperatures fall and water temperatures follow, passing back through the optimal 55- or 60-degree mark that excites fish in the spring, fish again begin to feed, consuming large meals, preparing to spawn, or settle down for the winter.

    Notably, the VDGIF begins their routine trout stocking schedule in October; and though fisherman in Virginia no longer adhere to a designated trout season, this new beginning reignites trout fishing from a summer of low water and sluggish fish.

    Stocking efforts make trout available to many anglers within a slight proximity to the Blue Ridge.  A Department-made map, such as can be found on their website, will reveal numerous access points and detailed information to help improve your experience.  But remember, other anglers can become pretty attuned to regularly-scheduled stocking events, and you may find most consistent success in stretches of river lying downstream from popular fishing spots and road crossings and that require a little grunt work to reach.

Originally published in the Rural Virginian


Fred Gill said...

Interesting blog. This is one of my favorite blog about hunting and I also want you to update more post like this. Thanks for sharing this article.

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Flip Jork said...

Well, there you have it! We're still working on it, but check back and take a look-sy into our "Latest Adventures" page. We will post up photos of our recent outing. This month, it will be the Bridge to Nowhere Hike. We had a blast! Came home soaking wet from all the river and stream crossings.
Deer Scent