West Virginia Deer Hunters Harvest 162,000

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Preliminary counts of game checking tags indicate West Virginia hunters harvested a total of 162,371 white-tailed deer during the recently completed bucks-only, antlerless, muzzleloader, bow and youth/Class Q deer seasons, according to Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro. This year's total harvest was 11 percent above the 2007 deer harvest of 145,937 and ranks as the 15th highest total on record. Hunters killed 68,540 bucks, 54,704 antlerless season deer, 30,749 archery season deer and 8,378 muzzleloader season deer during the 2008 season.

Antlerless Deer Season

The 2008 antlerless deer season, which includes the youth/Class Q deer hunts, was 25 percent above 2007, due in part to the increase in hunter opportunities to take antlerless deer. "It is important to note that part of the deer management strategy is to regulate the harvest of antlerless deer in individual counties to raise or lower the deer population," said Jezioro. The top 10 counties were: Preston (2,843), Jackson (2,173), Mason (2,155), Wood (2,118), Lewis (2,051), Harrison (1,921), Wetzel (1,866), Ritchie (1,792), Barbour (1,728) and Monongalia (1,676).

"Continued doe harvests are the key to healthier, heavier, and more productive deer herds. Guided by our deer harvest management plan, we will continue to recommend appropriate antlerless harvests for the benefit of not only the deer herd, but also all wildlife dependent on our state's woodland habitat," said Jezioro.

Muzzleloader Deer Season

The 2008 muzzleloader harvest of 8,378 was nine percent above the 2007 harvest and ranks as the 16th highest total on record. The increase in harvest is attributed in part to the increased number of counties open to either sex muzzleloader hunting. Generally, antlerless deer make up 80 percent of the muzzleloader season harvest. The top 10 counties were: Braxton (538), Lewis (392), Preston (320), Mason (299), Ritchie (297), Jackson (279), Roane (270), Gilmer (267), Wood (264) and Barbour (245).

Archery Deer Season

The bow hunters take of 30,749 deer was12 percent above the 2007 harvest of 27,440 and ranks as the 6th highest on record. The top 10 counties were: Preston (1,434), Randolph (1,268), Kanawha (878), Nicholas (870), Monongalia (854), Mason (825), Greenbrier (788), Wyoming (746), McDowell (741), and Jackson(733).