Deer hunting season has come and gone. Everyone, from recreational hunters, to contractors paid to control the urban deer population says it was a busy one.
Most urban areas allow people to help keep the deer population under control if they have proper documentation and training, but Roanoke's a little different.
Roanoke is one of the few cities in the commonwealth that contracts out its deer culling, a way to to control the deer population.
The city says the contractors had quite a quota to fill and a few weeks ago it finished; 210 deer.
"It does sound high for Roanoke City," said Robert Whittaker, an avid hunter.
"There was a lot of research that went into the background before that number was set," Lt. Stephen Keatts with Roanoke City Police said.
Roanoke City paid an outside company $40,000 to kill those 210 deer.
Police and experienced hunters say the population has jumped and this year's kill numbers show it.
"The deer population has expanded tremendously in the past ten to fifteen years, and something has to be done to manage it within the city," Keatts added.
"You can drive through just about anywhere and you're going to see deer on the side of the road, you see them on Peter's Creek Road," Whittaker said. Whittaker works at Bryansteens Gun and Archery store off Peters Creek Road.
Statewide, nearly a quarter million deer were killed this past hunting season. That's up around 13 percent from last year.
"I was really surprised that the annual kill was up, just for the lack of acorn mass in the mountains this year," said Whittaker.
Experts say that lack of acorns drove more deer into more populated areas.
As for contracting out deer-culling to snipers versus letting citizens do it with bows for free, Roanoke Police say specialized, licensed hunters can take care of the problem without causing any more.
"It's a different set of laws that come into play because you're talking about professionals," Keatts added.
Police in Roanoke say the majority of the deer kills take place on private property after landowners call to say they're having issues.
If those homes are eligible, the snipers typically come in at night and shoot the deer.
It wasn't just about the deer, though. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, turkey hunts were up 21% to the highest numbers in the past nine years.
Bear kills were also up 8% this past season.
The county with the most harvests for all animals this season was Bedford County.
In Roanoke City, all the deer killed by these contractors weren't for naught. Last year alone 5,500 pounds of venison was donated to help feed the hungry.