Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to have SWMNV manage the deer on my property?
Our service is provided without charge to the property owner. We are incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our administrative costs are primarily funded through membership fees, occasional fund raising events, and donations from our clients and others that are interested in helping manage the deer herd..
How large of a property must I own in order to use your services ?
In practical terms, our field staff has worked with properties smaller than 5 acres. But dealing with smaller tracts is most easily dealt with when several adjoining property owners are experiencing deer damage and several - or all - decide to seek our services simultaneously. These properties can then be managed as a single, larger unit. We find this to be the best approach for smaller tracts.
Furthermore, some communities experiencing deer damage have "community space" controlled by the homeowners association. These tracts also may be - in some cases, have been - utilized for deer management.
Other than the restrictions place by the county, there are no hard and fast rules. We will evaluate each property on a case by case basis.
Must I wait until deer actually begin to damage my property before you can help ?
No, not necessarily. We can begin to help manage your property before the damage begins. But frankly, most client requests come after damage is evident, if not overwhelming.
In as much as there are numerous variables involved, contact us for more in-depth answers.
Do I put myself at any liability risk by using your service?
First, Virginia Law strongly supports the property owner.
Secondly, SWMNV carries liability insurance that protects both the organization and the property owner.
And finally, the Property Owner Agreement signed by SWMN and each client includes a "hold harmless" clause which indemnifies the property owner.
Is this Bowhunting thing really safe ?
Absolutely! The chances of a hunter being injured, or causing injury to someone else, are many times greater when the hunter is driving between home and his hunting location, than when the hunter is in the field hunting.
Using bowhunting as a deer management technique is especially low risk to the non-hunting public. Unlike hunting with firearms, bowhunting is an extremely close range sport. SWMNV members strive for shots within twenty yards, with most shots being closer still. At that distance, there is no difficulty in positively identifying the target. Identification is further enhanced by the archer's requirement to zero in on a six inch "kill-zone" behind the target animal's shoulder. So again, there is no concern there will be any mistake regarding identification on the part of the archer. Additionally, experienced archers do not shoot at running deer, as is often the case with gun hunting.
And finally, in accordance with strict SWMNV guidelines, bowhunting is done exclusively from tree stands, typically elevated to a height of 10 to 20 feet. Shooting at a downward angle, any arrow missing the target will travel only a few feet before impacting the ground, effectively terminating velocity and allowing for positive recovery of the arrow. Similarly, most arrow shots actually travel completely through the target animal and also terminate in the ground, again, allowing for positive recovery of the arrow.
The reality is that you are much more likely to be injured or killed in a deer-car collision, than to be injured by a bowhunter managing deer on your property. In fact, in a recent Northern Virginia court case involving an anti-hunting town association vs. two of our clients, the sitting judge pronounced "suburban bowhunting is safe". With facts and statistical records to back our claims, we couldn't agree more.
Are many deer wounded but not harvested ?
This is a controversial subject in any public discussion. Many groups opposed to hunting often try to suggest that wounding rates are high, 50-80%. The numbers they quote are very subjective and based on assumptions made to prove their point.
However, a comprehensive study was conducted at Camp Ripley Minnesota in 1992/93, which offers statistically significant, scientific data on this subject. The study group included a broad cross-section of Bowhunters with experience levels ranging from novice to expert. This study concluded that only about 13% of the deer shot were unaccounted for. In turn, this would account for an 87% recovery rate. Comparatively, SWMNV enjoys an overall recovery rate of 94-95%.
SWMNV deploys experienced bowhunters who have undergone a rigorous certification process. In addition, we have a pool of our most experienced trackers on-call. In case a member hunter is unable to recover a deer, the hunter can call one of these trackers to aid in the search. We make EVERY effort to recover all deer.
As a footnote, it's interesting to observe that the number of deer debilitated by disease caused by overpopulation, or wounding and deaths cause by deer-car collisions, easily exceeds wounding rates caused by bowhunting.
So, how long will it take for you to solve my problem with deer?
These aren't problems that can be solved. They are resources to be managed and stewarded. The natural predators of the Whitetail deer, large carnivores like wolves, mountain lions, etc, have been replaced in the suburbs with the Mustang, Firebird, and F-150. In some areas with large tracts of undeveloped land like Yellowstone National Park, populations of the natural predators have been reintroduced in an attempt to restore the natural balance. Since it is impractical to do this in the densely populated suburbs, continuous management is required.
Just two deer without predation can produce a herd of up to 35 deer in just 7 years. How quickly we can restore the balance on your particular property depends largely on the surrounding properties. When a number of nearby properties are under management, the balance can be restored much more quickly.