MetroNews staff photo

ELKINS, W.Va. — State wildlife officials hope West Virginia hunters will be more inclined to kill a doe during this year’s early antlerless season. For a second year, the Natural Resources Commission split the six day antlerless season into two separate weekends. The first is this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, October 24-26 on private land.

“Looks like the cold front moved through and the temperatures are going to be good,” said Gary Foster, Game Management Supervisor for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “I think last year the October season caught some hunters off guard and they were not aware of it.  Hopefully over the past year, people have gotten a little more familiar with it.”

Foster said the idea of splitting up the season was to increase the numbers of deer taken. The traditional antlerless season until 2012 was the week which followed the traditional two week buck season. Statistics revealed most of the deer killed during that week happened in the later days.

“When we looked at the harvest information, it was obvious the harvest on that Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday was very low,” Foster said. “In 2011 we harvested only about 1,500 deer on those first three days.”

The change improved the numbers drastically as hunters killed just over 4,000 deer during the three day season in its inaugural year. Foster and game management officials hope that trend will continue upward for 2013.

“We still have too many deer in a lot counties, not everywhere, but in some counties we’re still above our biological harvest objective,” he said. “We’re still trying to come up with tweaks to regulations to increase that harvest.”

Another tweak to this year’s season is an allowance for two deer to be killed in a single day, as long as one of those is a doe. Unlike in years past when the multi-deer bag limit was allowed you don’t have to check in one before killing the other.

Foster said the change was a result of hunters’ requests in surveys done around the state at their spring meetings for several years.

“The vast majority of hunters have a very limited amount of time to get off work,” he said. “It was something we had heard for years and a lot of hunters were asking for.”

One difference between the three day season in December and the three day season in October is the October season is on private land only. State biologists believe it will allow more deer to be taken from private tracts which don’t get the same hunting pressure as public hunting areas.

“We’re trying to focus harvest on private lands, that’s part of it,” Foster said. “But also on a lot of public and state forests you have a lot of other people in the woods with peak leaf color. It was as much an effort to reduce conflicts among various user groups at this time of year.”

Hunters who kill an antlerless deer during the three day season will qualify to kill a second buck if they are hunting in one of the 23 counties where bagging a doe is the qualifier for a second buck.

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  • vernon workman

    what counties does this special season cover. Please email me and let me know . I didn't use my extra buck permit what counties can I kill another buck . I need this information asap please thank u. I killed my buck in boone county wv.

  • Debra K Dove

    The doe's are multiplying so fast at our home that we cannot raise any crops anymore.
    Electric fences do not stop them. They dig out our potatoes and eat all the green tomatoes and beans, everything.
    We counted more than 20 doe's at a time.

  • JL Breeden

    How can the DNR want more doe's killed when every year the overall kill drops to the 1960s levels. Hunters need to stand up and put a stop to it before its to late. I live in Kanawha Co. were there is suppose to be no doe hunting but its sounded like first day of gun season last week. WERE is the game wardens.

  • thornton

    October numbers were?????

  • Cory Boothe

    The early doe season is a great way to expand the doe harvest. As for bowhunters, we just got an additional few weeks last year so we have more time in the woods than ever. Harvest some does guys!

  • Jordan

    Just keep killing more and more deer and see less and less....real smart move. Rediculous! Nothing to eat in the woods this year too so lets just shoot more deer and let the Winter get the rest. When will this ever stop DNR?

    • thornton

      There is, of course, food in the woods as deer are browsers. To believe otherwise, brings into question experience and knowledge. WV is not the U.P. of Michigan in regards to winter loss.

      Perhaps there is less hard mast in some areas which makes it more difficult to target the deer, put up cameras or set up a stand on a food source....the Bowhunter Big 3 for some.

      Deer easily return from low levels....other species do not. Many afternoons have been ruined by deer, deer hunters and all that track their path hoping for a flopped-open wallet.

    • Roy Riggleman

      People need to stop driving less, too

  • Marty

    Killin to many does in are area stomp nt mountain all day an see 1 or 2 tails not much fun for a kid bow season way to long

  • Old Bowhunter

    Just got into my treestand and pulled up my bow and here comes an idiot carrying a rifle, smoking a cigarette......and this is my land! I've been hunting for weeks and haven't seen anyone. I hunt with a rifle and a muzzleloader, also, but I know who owns the land I am hunting on! I bet on those late summer evenings when I was standing here next to this hickory with a chew of Mailpouch watching this meadow, that guy was asleep on the couch. That guy, this season, the DNR, ruined my hunt this afternoon.

  • Ron

    Just remember guys.. Killing a buck makes for a better story to your buddies. But you can't eat the horns, so nothing wrong with taking down some does even if it doesn't make for as good as story as sure as heck makes for just as good as meal if not better.

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    You know what the problem is??

    West Virginia hunters are divided, you have the very few who understand basic wildlife management, and the majority who think they know everything about everything that has ever been thought about. Put some faith in the DNR that they know what they are doing...Our doe to buck ratio is completely out of whack...We need a one buck limit and every hunter taking does...not button bucks...


      Well said.

    • Wowbagger

      Never overlook the likelyhood that a government bueaucracy will screw things up in response to their political overlords. West Virginia politicos used to accept the professional judgements of the scientists and engineers working in state government, but Joe Manchin and better salaries and benefits elsewhere for the good ones put an end to that especially for new hires.

    • Bradford

      Not just in WV, hunters are divided everywhere. I have live all over the country and have heard this problem over and over again. People need to have a little more faith in their state wildlife management. They want each hunter to get their share.

    • Larry

      True, still too many guys out there who refuse to shoot a doe, but kill any scrub buck they see.

  • Grant

    They should make it two complete weeks and allow you to kill one each week. We have way too many deer.

  • thornton

    Great! Kill does! Every little bit helps.

    Ohio killed close to 6K a couple of weeks ago in a doe season.

    Fewer deer and fewer deer hunters make for a much more enjoyable woods...scowling deer hunters perched on high or looking mean as you drive by a camp gets really old.

  • packman

    The bowhunters can't kill enough does so the gun hunters need to help a good time to go out and get some meat

  • potomachighlander

    don't worry, you might see more deer that way

  • NorthernWVman

    Late October and early November has traditionally been for bowhunters. We don't need a bunch of crazies out there scaring up the deer population.

    • JJ

      October - December has traditionally been for bowhunters (now its Sept. - Dec.)........every other deer season is measured in days or weeks, but bow season is months!!!! Perhaps if it were limited to six days or two weeks, more deer would be taken by archery hunters and help the overall population issue.


        I agree. And by the way, when the Nazi WV Bowhunters Association get out of the way perhaps we will finally get the legislature to consider and pass crossbow use like PA, MD and VA. They report great success, no negative impacts, and more generated revenue.

        • Spell Checker

          Agree with you 100%. Crossbows would generate more interest in deer hunting and make for more humane kills. I wager that most so-called "bone collectors" do very little practice and end up gut-or-butt-shooting deer, if they hit them at all. They want you to think they do but they really don't--takes too much time. If you're out in the woods enough you'll eventually find their handiwork.

          The WVBA must be using a good chunk of their membership dues to pad the pocket and campaign war chest of an influential politician or two.

      • thornton

        Bow season has dominated as bowhunters enjoy getting a crack at the bigger bucks, and dumber bucks if they catch the breeding blindness interval, first....all else falls behind that self-focus and need to brag at the barbershop.

        Well before, Michigan Fred marketed bowhunting to the panting and competitive masses, that Fall period was traditionally bird season. Partly through deer feeding, the game bird population has plummeted of course. does not matter too much. Just a shame to see deer hunters, bow especially, expressing themselves by their actions in such a poor light.

        It would be nice to see bow season brought back to it's legitimate roots but I question whether that would result in more deer killed. Better management through killing does and population control is a solid course of action.

    • thornton

      Late Oct and early Nov?....traditionally for the ruffed grouse and woodcock hunters....depends upon your perspective, reckon?.