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2023–2024 Deer Kill Summary

During the 2023–24 deer hunting season, hunters reported harvesting 206,586 deer in Virginia, up approximately 12% from the 184,968 deer taken during the same time frame the previous season. This year’s total included 105,201 antlered bucks, 982 bucks that had shed their antlers, 12,567 button bucks, and 87,836 does (42.5%).

The youth and apprentice deer hunting weekend resulted in a harvest of 2,890 deer. Archery hunters took 14% of the total deer harvest, while muzzleloading deer hunters and firearms hunters took 26% and 60% of the total harvest, respectively. In counties where dogs could be used to hunt deer, 50% of deer were harvested with the aid of dogs during the general firearms season.

The 2023–24 deer harvest was up 5% from the previous 10-year average of 196,862. This season’s harvest represented a rebound from the 2022–23 season, when harvests were down due to a bumper crop of acorns. The dip in harvest last season likely created a “stockpile” of deer for hunters this season. Additionally, deer experienced a mild winter, entering 2023 on a higher nutritional plane and enabling the herd to be more productive. White oak mast was scarce during the fall of 2023, which could have made deer move more in search of this preferred food item, increasing their visibility to hunters. Additionally, a number of new deer hunting regulations designed to increase harvest opportunities went into effect, which also may have contributed to the increased harvest.

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, on out-of-season deer kill permits, or deer hit and killed by vehicles. Annual deer harvest totals by county dating back to 1947, including the county-specific deer harvest totals, can be found on DWR’s website along with additional information on deer management in Virginia.

Deer Kill Data: 1947–2023

Virginia Deer Harvest, 1947–2023

A graph showing Virginia's statewide deer harvest from 1947 until 2023