VIRGINIA

Deer Forecast 2004 -- SOUTH

Outdoor Life Online Editor

The antlerless deer bag limit has been increased by two per hunter this season to help control an estimated population of 850,000 to 1 million whitetails.

"Over the vast majority of the Commonwealth of Virginia, current deer management objectives call for the deer herds to be stabilized at their early to mid-'90s deer-kill levels," says Matt Knox, state deer program supervisor.

According to Knox, the plans "appear to be working fairly well, with the exception of the northern Piedmont and southwestern Piedmont. We have not achieved the female kill levels in these two areas to control herd growth or meet our population objective."

About 236,000 deer were killed last season, the majority (164,700) taken by firearms hunters. A check-in hotline (866-468-4263) is available for hunters to report deer kills. Early archery season opens October 2, while the firearms seasons will open later throughout the state. All will end January 1, except for two "special urban archery" seasons. The first is September 18 to October 1, and the second is January 3 through March 26. Specific restrictions and licenses apply for the special urban archery seasons.

Contact: Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (804-367-1000; www.dgif.state.va.us).