A total of 19 bears and 1687 deer were harvested in Rappahannock County during this just-concluded 2018-19 hunting season, which compares to 24 bears and 1535 deer taken by local hunters during the previous 2017-18 season.
While there were five fewer bear bagged in Rappahannock this season compared to last, statewide 2,715 bears were harvested in 2018-19, which represents the second highest harvest of bruins ever.
Deer harvested in Rappahannock County during the prior 2017-18 season had been the lowest count in twenty years, so there was an improvement this season by some 150 deer for our local hunters.
The deer harvest in Rappahannock this season ending Jan. 5, 2019 was 717 antlered male, 100 male fawns, and 870 females (51.5 percent female, in other words), for a total of 1687 deer.
Statewide this 2018-19 deer season, hunters harvested 190,636 deer — 96,239 antlered bucks, 12,342 button bucks, and 82,055 does (43 percent). The harvest was a slight increase over the previous season, which was unexpected.
Virginia Deer Project Coordinator Matt Knox earlier predicted the deer harvest total might be down this season for two reasons. First, much of the commonwealth experienced heavy rain and/or high winds on several of the big deer hunting weekends. Second, there has been a continued steady decline in the number of licensed deer hunters in Virginia, partly related to “baby boomers” getting older and retiring from hunting.
However, “successful non-resident hunters” this season came from 25 states and accounted for 8 percent of Virginia’s total harvest.
Meanwhile, a total of 2,363 wild turkeys were harvested in Virginia during the 2018-19 turkey hunting season, a difference amazingly enough of only 5 birds from the 2017-18 fall season bag of 2,368 birds.
The turkey harvest declined slightly in counties east of the Blue Ridge Mountains (down 2 percent), while the harvest increased slightly in counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains (up 2 percent).