SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Deer hunters in West Virginia harvested 56,173 bucks during the two-week buck firearms season, Nov. 19 through December 1, according to Frank Jezioro, director of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.
The 2012 buck harvest was 7 percent less than the 2011 harvest of 60,157. The top 10 counties for buck harvest were Preston (2,108), Greenbrier (1,907), Randolph (1,792), Mason (1,667), Jackson (1,662), Hampshire (1,570), Monroe (1,563), Ritchie (1,518), Wetzel (1,496) and Hardy (1,435).
The largest decreases occurred in the western and central counties. The harvest ranked 27 among all recorded antlered buck firearm seasons and is down 7 percent below the five-year average of 60,236.
Wildlife biologists and wildlife managers collected age-specific biological information at checking stations in 24 counties this year and describe antler development as good. The dry weather was good for hunter participation this year, but made moving in the woods noisy, spokesmen said.
Deer densities that were more in balance with the habitat in many areas, combined with the better-than-average acorn crop that allowed deer avoid open fields made this year’s deer season challenging for many hunters. Residual access problems associated with Hurricane Sandy, such as downed trees blocking forest roads, may have hindered the ability of some buck hunters to reach their favorite hunting spots, especially in some of the high mountain counties.
Wildlife biologists will analyze data from the combined 2012 deer seasons (i.e., buck, antlerless, archery and muzzleloader) before making appropriate recommendations for next year’s deer hunting seasons. These recommendations will be available for public review at 12 regulations meetings scheduled for March 18 and 19, 2013. (See page 5 of the current 2012 - 2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Summary or visit the DNR Web site at www.wvdnr.gov for scheduled meeting locations.)
Harvests from other counties include Tucker (635, Grant (1,284), Berkeley (673), Jefferson (522), Mineral (1,175), Morgan (601) and Pendleton (1,379).