Local Deer Population on the Rise

by ARLnow.com November 30, 2011 at 1:55 pm 4,496 37 Comments

The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is warning that the local deer population appears to be on the rise.

The group says the number of calls they receive regarding deer has risen every year for the past six years. In 2005, for instance, there were 39 deer-related calls, compared to 79 such calls so far this year.

“Calls range from complaints about deer eating plants to injured deer to deer killed by cars,” AWLA employee Rita Naimoli said in an email. “We recently had two bucks crash through a resident’s window. Our officers see the evidence every day of the quickly growing deer population. Like other wild animals deer now thrive in some of the densest human settlements.”

Residents should avoid feeding deer, Naimoli said, to avoid situations like this.

“Although deer are beautiful creatures, feeding them destroys their natural fear of humans and can lead to aggression,” she wrote. “The League urges residents to enjoy wildlife from a distance and to avoid any interaction for their own safety and the well being of wildlife.”

Although it’s technically deer hunting season in Northern Virginia, Arlington County ordinances prohibit the use of bows and firearms for hunting in most circumstances.

Flickr pool photo by Mark C. White

  • Swag

    “Although it’s technically deer hunting season in Northern Virginia, Arlington County ordinances prohibit the use of bows and firearms for hunting in most circumstances.”

    But my spear and grenade hunting is still cool, right?

    • Grognak

      Just another example of Arlington’s policies setting us up as a sanctuary. Deport them all.

    • DarkHeart


  • The Gov..

    Don’t feed them….They rob banks!!

  • LMP

    Is the deer population on the rise? Or is it the population of Arlington that’s on the rise?

    • Grognak

      You mean the sheep population?

    • The loss of habitat to humans would create certainly more complaints. It could be one, the other, or both. Probably both.

    • Burger

      More likely deer population has increased dramatically. But two points

      1) Deer population tends to fluctuate greatly as they will grow to a certain size and then disease and lack of food thin the herd a great deal and the process starts over.

      2) The deer population in MD is larger than the deer population in the entire US from recorded time. The lack of predators has made deer essentially the top dog so to speak with nothing other than man to artificially reduce their numbers.

    • Loocy

      Deer population overall has increased on the east coast as more suburbs crop up. There are significantly more deer today than there were 200-300 years ago. Deer thrive in “edge of the forest” type locales, which is exactly what suburbia provides. Add that to a lack of natural predators and cultivation of yummy deer food such as roses, heather, and azaleas, and the population booms. This doesn’t explain why Arlington in particular is seeing a boom this year, but it is an overall pattern which is actually quite destructive for ecological balance.

  • Clizzledizzle


    I am in the process of buying a house in North Arlington. Would I be allowed to kill a deer if it is on my land?

    I do seriously hope the county is going to take action, a few weeks ago I ran into a deer on the 66 while going 55 MPH. The car was totaled and the deer flew over the median. It’s quite dangerous!

    • Don Ager

      “…I ran into a deer on the 66 while going 55 MPH.”

      dude, this isn’t California, we don’t say “THE 66”

      • Voice of Reason

        I believe He was actually referring to the hind legs of the deer, also known as the 66 of the deer.

  • curious goegre

    Just re-introduce wolves, bears and mountain lions back into Arlington.

    Fixes both the deer and flipflop issues.

    • brendan

      i see what you did there…

  • Clizzledizzle

    Actually if I read the Virginia state website correctly, shooting deer with arrows on your own property is allowed in Arlington.

    • Yes… as long as it’s 100 yards from any public road, structure or property line. Which, one imagines, precludes just about any private property in Arlington.

      • Clizzledizzle

        ah, that’s true!

      • Smoke_Jaguar4

        They could organize a bow hunt at the Army-Navy Country Club
        Fore! Thwip!!!

  • Patrick

    I would love to know the circumstances in which arlington does not prohibit bows and firearms for hunting?

    • Tre

      Population density?

    • Mr. Brown

      I’m sure the County is able to hire professionals to cull the deer population, should that be necessary. That is probably the only circumstance where hunting with a firearm or bow is legal.

    • brendan

      is that really a question?

      you can’t fire a 600fps bb gun without hitting private residential property or a heavily trafficked trail.

  • Steve85

    Kill them all. They are bad for our location. Move them to the country like prince william county or stafford county

  • Ed

    Remember when the cops intentionally ran one over, a couple years back? Can someone search the archives for that one?

  • curious goegre

    In all seriousness get a professional trapper to cull them and donate the meat to various food banks. Also pick off the year round resident geese.

    • Steve85

      Yo curious george whoever eats deer meat has a problem!! They may have rabies

      • curious goegre

        Naw, just adds a nice tang to the meat. And the mouth froth is great for thickening the gravy.

  • PMcSwain

    Yes, and they are in my backyard eating the shrubbery and working up to the bird feeders! Is there an ordinance against shaking brooms and yelling, “SHOO”?

    • Elementary Math Teacher

      Comrade: Only if they are undocumented and therefore protected by the local Central Committee. Maybe the Central Committee can house them at Arlington County’s church on Highland.

  • Ballstonian

    My 30-06 and Nikon scope could help regulate the population. Deer sausage is pretty good, that and mounts make great office ornaments and scare the light-hearted.

  • Wiz

    OK, Firearms and bow and arrow are banned from use in hunting deer in Arlington. Can I use some other primitive methods? A noose trap? Atlatl? Hand thrown spear? Tiger pit? Herd it into a dead end and then drop rocks on it from above?

    I would love a freezer full of venison.

    • Where is . . .

      . .. KK with his gun? Surely he has shot a few dozen deer in his time . . . HE could tell you how to gill your freezer . . .

      • Where is . . .

        *Fill* your freezer, obviously.

  • roquer

    if firearms and bows and arrows are not allowed for hunting in Arlington for most circumstances, I want to hunt in the circumsttances other than the most.

  • what the..

    i read every comment here and am disgusted that all of you would like to kill these gentle animals. bowhunting is execptionally cruel and these poor animals are just trying to survive. steve85 says to kill them all…wow what bloodlust and hatred of nature. leave them alone and learn to live with them.

    • Mr. Brown

      Your love for woodland creatures is adorable, but if the alternative is hiting them with my car, I would prefer someone gets to eat the animal.

      I don’t hate nature. It’s delicious.

    • ArlingtonNative

      Yeah – and your “bury the head in the sand” naiveté is pretty disgusting as well.
      The deer population in Va. continues to remain around the 1M mark year over year – despite the fact hunters cull 200-300K from the herd each year.
      Thousands of pounds of that very healthy meat (very low fat/low cholesterol) and high protein goes to food-banks across the state to help feed the less fortunate who otherwise would have little to no meat in their daily diets.
      “Leave them alone & learn to live with them” doesn’t work – that needs to be a two way process. I’ve yet to see anyone figure out how to train deer not to run in front of cars, not to eat all the vegetation from a freshly landscaped yard, etc.
      The areas with the greatest deer/human conflict issues are those (such as Arlington) with the most restrictive hunting (ie: population control) policies. That is why the Va Dept Game & Fisheries has instituted an extended hunting season in the western counties of NoVa so that sufficient deer can be culled in order to maintain some semblance of herd stability vs. carrying capacity of the land.
      Thank god wildlife management is (in most regions of the state) handled by professionals who employ science and reason and not your ilk with your fairy tale visions.
      Let me guess, your idea for managing the deer population would be to capture them each year, provide birth control shots and then release them back into the “wilds” of Arlington County!?


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