Wheelin' Sportsmen Work with Fluvanna to Trim Deer Population

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A group of hunters on wheels is working with the Fluvanna County Sheriff's Office to help curb the growing deer population. They braved the cold Friday for the second annual controlled hunt at Pleasant Grove Park in Palmyra. 

Six members of the Wheelin' Sportsmen camped out starting at 6 a.m. One team says even though the weather wasn't ideal, there are new tools to make the hunt a little bit easier.

“Not a whole lot of strategy to it. It's just kind of a waiting game,” said Jackie Via, member of the Wheelin’ Sportsmen.

Pleasant Grove Park wasn't a new playing field for Via.

“I did kill a doe here last year,” said Via.

Via is partnering with guide Emily Beasley for the second year in a row - equipped with binoculars and a rifle to track their targets.

“She's doing a lot of spotting for me. My eyes can only look one direction, we're trying to cover all bases in the stand,” said Via.

The pair spent the day searching for deer from one of three huntmaster stands. The towers are new tools to this year's all-day effort, giving hunters more visibility.

“It helps a lot - with this wind. I think the wind chill is 9, but it's 22 outside and in there it really helps a lot,” said Beasley.

“This is great because you can see a long ways. You have a lot better chance of seeing more deer,” said Via.

Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington says there is a need for this kind of organized hunt to maintain the safety of drivers on Route 53.

“We've seen everything from fender damage and actually deer going through windshields, so we ask the drivers to be very cognizant as they are driving, especially late evening, early morning hours,” said Washington.

Hunters are happy to help thin the deer population and explore new grounds at the same time.

“I have places I can hunt where I live, but I would never be able to come and hunt somewhere like this,” said Via.

The hunters were able to shoot nine deer Friday. Last year they netted about six. The hunting season technically ends Saturday.

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