SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Preliminary counts of game checking tags indicate West Virginia hunters harvested a total of 150,268 white-tailed deer during the recently completed bucks-only, antlerless, muzzleloader, archery and Youth/Class Q/Class XS deer seasons, according to Division of Natural Resources Director Frank Jezioro. This year’s total harvest was 14 percent above the 2012 deer harvest of 132,261.
Antlerless Deer Season
The 2013 antlerless deer season harvest of 57,350, which includes the Youth/Class Q/Class XS deer season, was 28 percent above 2012 and 24 percent above the five-year average of 46,105. “It is important to note that the antlerless harvest is the key component to any deer management strategy, as it controls the future deer population,” said Jezioro.
Antlerless hunting seasons were liberalized in many counties in 2013, with all or portions of 51 of the 55 counties open to antlerless firearms season. Hunters could harvest one to three antlerless deer, depending on the county. “This increase in hunting opportunity led to an increase in the harvest,” Jezioro said.
The top 10 counties are: Mason (2,526), Jackson (2,523), Preston (2,335), Wood (2,220), Roane (2,150), Ritchie (1,990), Lewis (1,982), Upshur (1,771), Monroe (1,698) and Wetzel (1,658).
Muzzleloader Deer Season
The 2013 muzzleloader harvest of 7,316 was 37 percent more than the 2012 harvest of 5,345, but was 2.5 percent below the five-year average of 7,507. “The muzzleloader season harvest appears to have rebounded from the effects of the change in season dates first made in 2012,” Jezioro said.
The top 10 counties are: Randolph (322), Braxton (312), Preston (249), Nicholas (247), Lewis (235), Fayette (232), Greenbrier (219), Upshur (212), Mason (209) and Ritchie (208).
Archery Deer Season
The bow hunters take of 28,574 deer was 11 percent above the 2012 harvest of 25,714, and 6 percent above the five-year average harvest of 26,994. Archery harvests are correlated to hard mast crops and the below-average acorn crop was a significant factor for the higher harvest in 2013.
The top 10 counties are: Preston (1,040), Kanawha (1,031), Wyoming (953), Raleigh (875), Wood (872), Logan (840), Fayette (796), Randolph (768), Monongalia (741), and Nicholas (738).
Curtis Taylor, Wildlife Resources Section Chief