West Virginia Deer Hunters Successful
Preliminary data collected from game checking stations across the state indicate deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 66,570 bucks during the two-week buck season, which ran from November 19 through December 1, according to Frank Jezioro, Director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. The 2007 buck harvest was slightly higher than the 2006 harvest of 66,115. The top ten counties for buck harvest were as follows: Preston (2,323), Hampshire (2,231), Greenbrier (2,215), Hardy (2,104), Mason (2,083), Jackson (2,070), Braxton (1,986), Randolph (1,960), Monroe (1,952), and Roane (1,903).
Twenty-nine counties reported an increase in the buck kill over 2006 while 22 reported a decrease. The decline in several counties may be related to an outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD-Serotype II virus) that occurred in several northern and western counties during the months of September and October. The EHD virus, which is spread by a midge, disappears with the first frost; however, the mortality rate in localized areas can reach as high a 20 percent, and this may have contributed to the decrease in harvest in certain portions of counties affected by the disease.
Wildlife Biologists and Wildlife Managers operating biological checking stations in Hampshire, Upshur, Mason and Tyler counties reported deer in good body condition with improved antler development. "Maintaining deer densities at level compatible with existing habitat conditions and within carrying capacity as outlined in the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources' White-tailed Deer Operational Plan will continue to provide healthy deer herds and good hunting opportunities in the Mountain State," said Jezioro.
White-tailed deer are the product of the environment. Too many deer on a given tract of land will result in loss of body weight, reduction in antler development, decrease in reproduction and death due to starvation during winter months. "The state's deer management program is designed to be very responsive to changing population conditions," noted Jezioro. "Deer regulations are adjusted annually to become either more conservative or more liberal, depending upon our data analysis and management objective for a given county." For example, in those counties where deer populations were above the population objective, liberal antlerless seasons were implemented in 2007. More conservative antlerless deer bag limits were applied to counties that were below their population objectives.
Wildlife Biologists will analyze data from the combined 2007 deer seasons (i.e., buck, antlerless, archery and muzzleloader) for each of the state's 55 counties, before making appropriate recommendations for next year's deer season.
Jezioro reminds hunters that the traditional six-day antlerless deer season in selected counties on both public and private land ends December 8. The Youth and Class Q antlerless season will open on Monday and Tuesday December 24 and 25 and be followed by a four-day reopening of antlerless deer season (December 26-29) on private land in 42 selected counties. Muzzleloader deer season begins December 10 and runs through December 15.
Need more info? Visit:http://www.wvdnr.gov/