West Virginia Deer Harvest Plunges but Trophies are Up

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Normally when harvest numbers fall the number of trophy class bucks taken also declines. However it appears that West Virginia is actually see a reverse trend where total harvest is falling but the trophy bucks harvested are increasing. The Gazette-Mail has a write up on the 2010 season.

West Virginia's deer harvest plummeted in 2010, but the state's take of trophy bucks didn't. Although hunters killed 31 percent fewer whitetails overall, the number of bucks taken to wildlife officials for antler scoring increased 12 percent. Twenty-six of the state's 55 counties ended up producing at least one Big Buck Club trophy, a dramatic increase from 2009's total of 18 counties.


groovy mike's picture

I just don't know about that

Hunters being more selective in the deer they take is the only explanation that makes sense to me.  Although I guess it's possible that more guys decided to get them scored this year than prior years.  It’s a good point that if hunters killed does in place of the bucks, the harvest would not change.  I guess we just don’t know what is going on yet.  Something is going on with the statistics, but I’m just not sure what.  Just watch and see if there is a pattern developing I guess?????

GooseHunter Jr's picture

That almost tells me that the

That almost tells me that the hunters are starting to maybe be a bit more selective in the deer they take.  They may be letting the smaller deer walk and letting them grow wihich is a very good thing, but at the same time  if they do keep the number down they may run into some over population problems which could be bad in the long run. 

hunter25's picture

I agree with Ca_Vermonster

I agree with Ca_Vermonster here and even though more bucks were scored not as many scored as high as the previous year anyway. It's possible that for some reason more guys just decided to get them scored this year than before. Maybe even had some incentive for doing so. Most guys that kill does also shoot a buck if the license system alows it. Not sure how it works over there though.

It seems like you would have seen more results before 13 tears went by when they started the antlerless harvest. I'm thinkin that despite the big decrease in harvest they are trying to convince everyone how good the hunting is now.

Ca_Vermonster's picture

Interesting.  They say that

Interesting.  They say that the reason for the buck size increasing is that the hunters killed does and let the bucks walk.

However, the overall kill was down 30%????  Something does not add up.  If everyone killed does in place of the bucks, the harvest would not change.  However, it appears to me to be more of a population issue.

Bet the AR guys are happy though....