Fairfax County Deer Management Archery Program Begins

Fairfax County Deer Management Archery Program Begins

These signs are posted in archery program areas, at park entrances and trailheads.

These signs are posted in archery program areas, at park entrances and trailheads. Photo contributed

The county’s annual Deer Management Archery Program began Saturday, Sept. 7 and runs through Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.

The archery program is conducted in dozens of parks and other locations throughout the county under Fairfax County Parks Department oversight and working closely with the Park Authority and NOVA Parks. Parks remain open to the public during this program.

The archery program began in 2010 and is part of an integrated Deer Management Program to reduce and stabilize the white-tailed deer population. The program aims to minimize safety and health hazards related to an overabundance of deer, including deer-vehicle collisions, potential spread of diseases, and environmental damage attributed to deer that can impact the ecosystem.

The county’s Deer Management Program was approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2000 and is recognized as a safe and efficient method of deer population control by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Because of its proven track record of safety, archery is a preferred deer management method. Archery is a compatible use with residential areas and community parks, allowing for deer population management in urban and suburban areas.

Since Virginia began tracking hunting injuries in 1959, no bystanders have been injured by an archer hunting deer anywhere in the commonwealth. Last year, 89 percent of the total deer harvests in our Deer Management Program were through the use of archery.

The county’s Archery Program standards require that all archers meet state hunter licensing, education and safety requirements and must pass qualifications to demonstrate skill and marksmanship, in addition to carrying program identification. Archers are also required to pass a criminal background check and complete additional training through the International Bowhunter Education Program to participate in the Deer Management Program.

Parks remain open to the public during the archery program and fluorescent orange signs are posted in parks where hunting is authorized. Harvest attempts will be accomplished from elevated tree stands; hunting from the ground level is prohibited in county parks. Tree stands must not be located closer than 100 feet from property lines or closer than 50 feet from established park trails.

Archers are approved to hunt at assigned sites Monday through Saturday during legal hunting hours, 30 minutes prior to sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. No hunting is allowed on Sundays in county parks. Archers are not allowed on private property without permission by the owner or tenant.

For more information, visit the Fairfax County Deer Management Program.