KCSA's Deer Management Program (DMP) is a tool used to keep the deer population at a controlled number and to ensure enough natural resources to maintain the health of the herd.
The Kingsmill DMP has two components: (1) a firearm (shotguns-only) component and (2) an archery component. The shotguns-only component occurs during a designated period and is limited to large, secluded tracts within Kingsmill and is not used in dense residential areas. Residents are notified of these shotguns-only dates through email and signs posted at each entrance on the corresponding “shotguns only” days.
The archery component occurs throughout Virginia’s designated archery seasons. Hunting during this time occurs on the large, secluded tracts and property owned by Kingsmill homeowners who give permission for DMP participants to cull deer from their property – much of which is adjacent to ravines, gullies, etc.
These are the only times the DMP is actively culling deer
Question & Answer Session presented by KMPD - 12/14/2020
Is the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (Former Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries) involved in any way?
Yes. Originally, the Commonwealth of Virginia initiated the Deer Management Assistance Program, otherwise known as DMAP. It was started as a tool for landowners and hunt clubs to utilize the Commonwealth’s resources for information and advice on management, control and overall health of their whitetail deer herds. Currently, a more conventional Deer Management Program is used that is consistent with the current state Hunting Guidelines.
We regularly consult with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR) regional biologist throughout the deer management season, especially if the participants find that the deer appear to be ill or diseased. For more information on the Virginia Deer Management Program go to https://dwr.virginia.gov/wildlife/deer/deer-management-program/
How long have we had an active Deer Management Program?
The DMP in its earliest form dates to Kingsmill’s original development days. What was initially a relatively easy process because there was much more undeveloped land, has become more challenging as the population within the gates has grown. Due to the successful development of the now-developed neighborhoods, culling areas have been significantly reduced.
Has Kingsmill ever gone without a Deer Management Program?
Yes. The community did without the program for a period of two years only to experience such a dramatic increase in landscape damage and vehicular accidents that the residents lobbied the KCSA BOD to bring back the program.
Where do you hunt in Kingsmill?
For the purpose of pushing and culling, we use KCSA-owned and Escalante-owned property. Most of these areas are away from residential housing, but there are some areas along the Old Country Road, the Woods Course Road, wooded/ravine area between the Plantation Site and the River Course, open and wooded areas in the back of Tutters Neck, Fairfax Woods, and Armistead Point, the Woods Course area, and areas near the Marina/Warehams Pond.
During Urban Archery, we get permission from private homeowners, who live in areas where it is safe to discharge an arrow, to use their property. Typically, these homeowners live on a ravine, on the water, in a cul de sac with no neighbors behind the property or have a wooded backyard.
When do you hunt in Kingsmill?
Urban Archery in Virginia typically begins in September and runs through March. Firearm (shotgun) season usually runs from October through January. We do not cull deer after legal shooting hours. However, the participants in the program do spend evenings observing deer patterns and identifying program areas in Kingsmill.
What happens to the meat once it is harvested?
Deer culled under the DMP may be kept by the hunters to feed their families. However, a significant amount of meat each year is donated to Hunters for the Hungry (www.h4hungry.org), which helps supply local food banks.
Why do we need a deer management program?
We have a DMP because we have an overpopulation of deer within Kingsmill. The purpose of the program is to manage the deer herd so that overpopulation does not lead to starvation and disease and cause the deer to seek out non-traditional food sources such as urban landscaping.
An optimum deer population balances positive demands (e.g., hunting, viewing) with negative demands (e.g., agricultural damage, vehicle collisions, and ecosystem impacts).
Regulation & Oversight
Are there rules and regulations that define the operation of the program?
KCSA has a Deer Management Program policy that must be followed in addition to abiding by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources’ hunting safety rules and regulations.
What weapons are used?
Archery tackle is primarily used for DMP. This includes compound bows and crossbows. KCSA does allow up to 4 scheduled days when deer are taken with firearms (shotguns only) on large, secluded tracks of land that are not directly adjacent to residences.
Who oversees the Deer Management Program?
KCSA's Deer Management Program is overseen by the KMPD Chief of Police and the Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator works closely with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources’ regional biologist on maintaining the optimum balance previously mentioned.
Has there ever been an accident to either homeowners, hunters or Kingsmill / homeowner property?
Safety is paramount. To date, no one has been injured, nor has there been an accident where a homeowner's property was damaged. The simple answer is "No".
How do we determine the number of deer to remove each year?
With the support of VDWR, over the last three years, we have worked to remove as many deer as we can with the safety of the residents, guests, and DMP participants in mind. There were numerous deer-related crashes and significant damage to personal property then.
We hear from homeowners on both sides of the deer management debate, and we try our best to maintain that optimal balance. We will never be able to remove every deer in KM, and it is not in the best interest of health and safety to no longer manage the herd. Both extremes have consequences. VDWR have complimented our program throughout and see us as an example of how a deer management program should work.
Do the hunters receive any training?
Yes. Hunters in the State of Virginia must take a hunter safety course sanctioned by VDWR. New participants to the program spend a full season training with the current team before they are allowed to cull deer the following season. Once the Program Coordinator is comfortable with the new team member, the Program Coordinator will then have the team member shadow another team member the following season; only now, the new team member can fully participate. With manageable size of members, they can operate efficiently and safely.
What can homeowner’s do to help manage the deer population?
The deer population is fluid, moving within Kingsmill and from surrounding areas. Homeowners can do their part to help manage the deer population by:
Reducing the number of bird feeders in the summer, especially those that scatter seed
Planting deer resistant plants. A list of those plants and gardening advice can be obtained from the KCSA Garden Club
Refraining from feeding the deer. Not only is feeding deer illegal in Virginia during the deer hunting season, but it can also contribute to unpredictable and unusual deer behavior with humans. Disease caused by food dependency and an increase in the localized population are both a result of supplemental feeding.
Finally, we want to emphasize that the Board is very supportive of our DMP efforts and understands that well-meaning individuals can come at this with completely different points of view. Virtually everyone loves the deer, but this is not about that. In the end our objective is to oversee a program that strikes a balance between maintaining a healthy deer herd and protecting the homeowner’s urban landscaping.