SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Preliminary data collected from game checking stations across the state indicate deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 56,333 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season, which ran from Nov. 25 through Dec. 7, 2013, according to Frank Jezioro, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR). The 2013 buck harvest was slightly higher than the 2012 harvest of 56,276. The top 10 counties for buck harvest were as follows: Jackson (1,914), Ritchie (1,909), Roane (1,878), Preston (1,753), Lewis (1,685), Hampshire (1,637), Braxton (1,623), Wood (1,599), Wetzel (1,534), and Greenbrier (1,529).
This year’s overall buck harvest is essentially the same as last year’s, but varied considerably by region, with decreases occurring in four DNR districts offset by increases in harvest in two DNR districts. The largest percent increases occurred in the western counties of the state while the buck harvest in the mountain and northern panhandle counties decreased. Inclement weather, especially Tuesday, the second day of the season, may have impacted hunter participation and contributed to the decrease harvest in these counties. The harvest was 27th among all recorded antlered buck firearm seasons. This year’s preliminary buck harvest remains 3 percent below the previous 5-year average of 58,049.
Wildlife biologists and wildlife managers collected age-specific biological information at checking stations in 23 counties this year and will analyze data from the combined 2013 deer seasons (i.e., buck, antlerless, archery and muzzleloader) before making appropriate recommendations for next year’s deer seasons. These recommendations will be available for public review at 12 regulations meetings scheduled for March 17 and 18, 2014, (see current 2013 - 2014 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary, Page 5, or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov for scheduled times and places).
Director Jezioro reminds hunters that several days of deer hunting opportunity still remain for 2013. The traditional antlerless deer season in selected counties on both public and private land opens Thursday, Dec. 19 and runs through Saturday, Dec. 21. The Youth, Class Q/QQ and Class XS deer season (antlerless deer only) will be open Thursday and Friday, Dec. 26 and 27, in any county with a firearms deer season, and will be followed by the reopening of Class N/NN antlerless deer season Dec. 28, 30 and 31 in 51 counties or portions of counties (see 2013 - 2014 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary or visit the DNR website at www.wvdnr.gov for county and area listings).