It looks like I wasn't imagining things when I wrote this post about not seeing as many deer this year. According to this article on Fredericksburg.com, the statewide deer harvest in Virginia is down by about 17%, and in 12 counties it's down 30%!
Experts and hunters interviewed for the article point to a number of possible explanations for the 2014 decline. Among them are disease, coyotes and a bumper acorn crop that is enabling deer to feed without moving around as much and keeping them out of agricultural fields. Some hunters also believe that Virginia's long deer season and liberal rules on killing does have simply led to a reduced population.
Matt Knox of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is quoted in the article as saying that hunters who believe the deer population has dipped too low should voluntarily restrict their female deer kill.