West Virginia Overhauls Deer Season

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In 1979, West Virginia DNR made their first deer management plan, since then a lot has changed. There is less cropland, and more forest area. Some would think the forest is a good habitat for the deer, but it is not. Deer do better with a diverse habitat. Logging companies are not clearing out areas for fresh vegetation either. With this and the growth of residential areas West Virginia DNR officials have changed the deer population goals, to 20-35 deer per square mile. Currently some areas have up to 60-100 deer per square mile. With these numbers they have proposed some changes to the current deer season.

  • Requiring hunters in counties with very high deer populations to kill an antlerless deer before they're allowed to kill a second buck. The change would apply both to archery and firearm seasons;
  • Setting the bag limit at three antlerless deer in all counties or parts of counties that currently have two- or four-deer limits;
  • Allowing nonresident hunters to apply for antlerless-deer permits in counties and on public areas where the state offers limited permits;
  • Allowing hunters to take up to two deer a day, provided at least one of the deer is antlerless
  • Establishing a statewide urban-hunt bag limit of seven deer -- seven antlerless or a combination that includes up to two antlered bucks. Municipalities would be able to open their special seasons as early as the second Saturday in September;
  • Changing the opening date of the deer archery season from Oct. 1 to the Monday closest to Oct. 1. Depending on how the calendar falls from year to year, opening dates would fluctuate between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4;
  • Creating a new three-day, late-October firearm season for antlerless deer;
  • Closing the current September antlerless-deer archery season;
  • Reducing the length of the September antlerless-deer muzzleloader season from six days to three;
  • Moving the traditional December muzzleloader season ahead one week; and
  • Moving the traditional December antlerless-deer season back one week and reduce it from six days to three.

These changes are proposed so that the deer population can remain healthy and sustainable. With less diverse habitat, and more human/deer accidents the best thing for the deer population is to keep it down at a sustainable level and the number one tool for that is hunters. From The Charleston Gazette.