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Hunting law change expected to lower Virginia deer population

The Earn a Buck program has hunters taking more does this hunting season

ROANOKE COUNTY – If if you feel like there have been more deer on the roads and in your neighborhood over the past few years, it's because there are. 

A Department of Game and Inland Fisheries program is working to reduce the number of deer and cut down on the deer-involved accidents on the roads every day. Deer collisions are one of the major reasons the Earn a Buck program is in place.

The program was launched in 2008. It requires hunters to take a doe, or female deer, before they're allowed to take their second buck of the season. By cutting down on the number of does, wildlife experts say we'll see less mating and a lower deer population overall.

Roanoke County and Bedford County have been a part of the program for years. Although the deer populations in those areas are still higher than average, they are on the decline. The program has proven to gradually reduce the deer populations once in place.

Now, the program is expanding. Starting this hunting season, hunters in Montgomery County and every city and town in Virginia will be required to participate.

"Urban areas and certain counties, where desipite having a really long hunting season or aggressive season, hunters just are not killing enough does," says Nelson Lafon, the deer project coordinator for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. "What we're doing this year is increasing the number of areas included in this program."

Starting July 1, the expansion of the Earn a Buck program will be finalized. For more information, click here.