Virginia deer hunters get updates on studies
Hot Springs, Va. –
The Appalachian Members of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association gets updates on hunting season numbers and on a study about predators that may affect the deer population
The Appalachian Members of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association has been working for more than a year now to address issues of game management and the declining deer population in the Bath County area. The group met January 16 and heard a report on the recent hunting season. Since only the results from call in checks are available now, Al Bourgeois, a District Wildlife Biologist with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries gave a preliminary report on numbers. Wayne Anderson is the spokesperson for the Appalachian Members of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association.
“From the call in checks, he does not think the kill was down considerably,” says Anderson. “It’s down and again that’s an estimate, because they don’t have final numbers. However, from the reports from our members, the deer count is down anywhere from 45 percent to 15 percent. We had a couple of key players, like Tim Plecker. He thought his counts were up, but he also had put in a lot of new wildlife plots which could help with that.”
At the meeting the group also heard a report from Virginia Tech graduate student Dana Morin about an ongoing study on coyotes and how they may be affecting the deer population. The study will continue through 2013 collecting data on scat samples and collecting information on the ranges and locations of coyotes, which are tracked by GPS collars. The study is primarily on coyotes, to find out how many of them there are, where they are and what they are eating. But information about other predators is being discovered too.
“She has fourteen coyotes collared,” says Anderson. “Of course they are roaming. She has one that consistently roams in a 650 kilometer radius. That is kind of odd. She said it likes to go from The Greenbrier to The Homestead. The interesting thing that she had to say was that there are far more bobcats in this area than was ever anticipated. From the scat they are doing the study of the predators that are here, because they are picking up all of the scat. The coyotes certainly are prevalent, bears, but the biggest surprise was the bobcat. And all three are consuming deer. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that every deer they’ve consumed they’ve killed.”
The Appalachian Members of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association has submitted proposed game regulation changes to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The group thinks the proposed changes will help increase the deer population over time. There is a meeting in Richmond in March to receive public input on the proposed changes and another public meeting is scheduled for April at Buffalo Gap High School in Augusta County.
“The more we improve all wildlife benefits the county for incoming tourists and people coming here to hunt and spending money,” says Anderson. “And that’s the big goal. Back in the 50’s and 60’s and very early 70’s, we had much more hunters in the woods than we have now. And we’re looking to improve that and bring that good era back.”
For more information about the Appalachian Members of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association, contact Wayne Anderson at 540-997-0203.