The VDHA was founded in March of 1985, by a few dedicated hunters who became concerned with the increasing threats to deer hunting. They recognized that it was critical for deer hunters to unite in a statewide organization in order to protect deer hunting from these threats. These few dedicated deer hunters used their own money to launch the organization.
Their first effort was to start a membership drive to the nearly 300,000 hunters in Virginia, so the rights and needs of deer hunters could be represented on all hunting legislation at the state and local government levels. In the next few years, officers of VDHA lobbied at the Virginia State Assembly, attended local government meetings and worked with the Virginia Game Department whenever there was a threat to hunting or when an issue arose which would affect hunting.
The founders also recognized the importance of keeping deer hunters informed so they published a newsletter during the first year. By 1990, VDHA had recruited over 2,500 members and the simple newsletter had become the Whitetail Times magazine.
In 1992, a lobbyist was retained to protect and speak for hunter rights at the General Assembly. To gain even greater representation of deer hunters throughout the state, special efforts were initiated to involve more hunters in the organization. The Federation of Hunt Clubs began to provide a direct link to groups of hunters who initiate and implement the DMAP and DCAP deer management programs across the state. Field representatives from most areas of the state ensure that contact can be made with the VDHA wherever a member might live. Members of the Board of Directors of the organization represent almost every corner of the Old Dominion.
The VDHA holds an annual banquet which is second to none in the state. Proceeds from the banquet go to sponsor biological studies of Whitetail deer which ultimately will improve the herd. The banquet funds many of the projects of the VDHA which go directly back to the sport and to deer hunters. The annual Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show and the celebrated Virginia Deer Classic provide an opportunity for all members to volunteer their time to promote the sport for the public to appreciate. Thousands of citizens have enjoyed this great show each year. The "Youth Day Hunts", held by some Federation Clubs and the annual handicapped Veteran hunts were started in 1986.