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The hot zone.

With ample deer numbers, blissfully long hunting seasons and high success rates, bowhunters "in the know" know Virginia is for lovers: deer lovers, that is.

"Last year bowhunters took over 15,000 deer, including 5,600 bucks, which is pretty typical for our state," notes Matt Knox, deer project coordinator for the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. "One-third of all bowhunters harvest a deer, which gives us one of the highest bowhunter success rates in the country."

In many areas of the Old Dominion, deer season is a marathon of bowhunting euphoria. Hunters in 45 urban entities can pursue whitetails for seven months a year, while Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties offer an 8-month season. And archers need not put away their bows during the state's 15-day firearms season.

"About 90 percent of the state is considered good deer habitat," Knox adds. "We have a good mixture of forests and farm fields, and a trophy buck can come from just about anywhere."

Suburban Fairfax County leads with the most all-time P&Y entries (77), followed by Henry (42), Southampton (26) and Bedford (23). Since 2010, Southampton County boasts the most entered archery trophies (8), followed by Pittsylvania (7), Fairfax and Bedford (6 each), and Henry (5). If these numbers don't rock you, keep in mind that many Virginia bowhunters don't bother getting their trophies scored. A lot of big bucks are shot here every archery season.

Last year the state outlawed attractants/scents containing deer urine, as a precautionary measure against the possible spread of chronic wasting disease. There were no major changes for 2016. For more information on bowhunting in Virginia, visit: dgif.virginia.gov/hunting. To find out more about the bowhunting records for whitetails and other big game across North America, visit: pope-young.org.

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DID YOU KNOW?

The whitetail's scientific name, Odocoileus virginianus, means "hollow tooth of Virginia." In 1832, when naturalist Constantine Rafinesque described this species for science, he based the name on a deer tooth found in a Virginia cave. Odocoileus is a blend of the Greek word "odous" (tooth) and "koilos" (hollow). The "hollow" was apparently a reference to the recessed center of the molar.

1. A mountain saddle in Botetourt County is where John Feazell arrowed this 221 2/8-inch non-typical on Nov. 7,2009. The 22-pointer ranks as Virginia's No. 1 bow buck.

2. Wayne Hardiman has shot four P&Y deer in Virginia over the years, including this 141 4/8-inch Hanover County 8-pointer. Wayne took the wide buck on Nov. 22,1997.

3. Halifax County was home to this unique 170-inch 16-pointer. Joshua Waller dropped the beast on opening morning of the 2009 archery season.

4. Hunter Garrett bowhunted Prince William County during the pre-rut, and his reward was this wide 10-pointer. The trophy whitetail grosses 154 1/8 and nets 146 6/8.

BY DARREN WARNER

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Author:Warner, Darren
Publication:North American Whitetail
Date:Nov 1, 2016
Words:483
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