Submitted

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hunters killed 45,871 bucks during the recently completed two week traditional buck hunting season in West Virginia.  The figure is around the level officials with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources anticipated it would be.

“Last year was much higher at 60,000 and that was primarily because of a poor acorn crop,” said Chris Ryan, Supervisor of Game Management Services for the Division of Natural Resources. “But two years ago the number was 37,000, so it’s in the middle.”

Mast conditions across the state going into the season were mixed and hunters who found acorns also found an abundance of deer.  Those who hunted in areas where the acorns didn’t hit were probably disappointed.   The weather was a factor in some of the northern counties of West Virginia and the high mountains.

“We had extremely high winds across the state, especially in the northern counties and the mountains, during the first couple of days,” said Ryan. “So that’s going to impact deer movement, but the primary factor was just having more acorns so deer could eat and be spread across the landscape even further.”

The numbers suggest to DNR biologists the deer population is about where it needs to be in comparison to the carrying capacity of the state’s deer habitat.

“A lot of the counties are pretty close to their management objective,” Ryan said. “It’s very close to where we predicted it to be in the hunting outlook.”

Social media sites have shown another banner year for big bucks in West Virginia.  Although anecdotal, the number of big bucks being shown off on websites appears to have continued to grow in 2016.  Ryan said the success for hunters in killing bigger bucks is a result of two factors.

“It’s not just the southern part of the state anymore. It’s Richie County, Doddridge County, Marshall County, and Upshur County. Those large, mature bucks are really starting to show up around the state,” Ryan explained. “It demonstrates the diverse age class where there are a lot of older age class deer spread around the state.  One reason is the concurrent antlerless season and the other is hunters being more selective and passing up on younger deer.”

The top 10 counties for buck harvest were:  Preston (1,769), Randolph (1,610), Jackson (1,482), Greenbrier (1,445), Ritchie (1,414), Upshur (1,392), Mason (1,266), Lewis (1,238), Hampshire (1,183) and Wood (1,182).

West Virginia Buck Firearms Season Harvest, 2012-2016
County20122013201420152016
Barbour1177110988612811,094
Brooke407389251286267
Hancock320273200208206
Harrison1385130193014181,132
Marion108911307021190762
Marshall13091051707818726
Monongalia129711076891023824
Ohio466399232290266
Preston21581741152620461,769
Taylor684635453732579
Tucker649527494783726
Wetzel147115378911144896
Dist. 1 Subtotal12,41211,1997,96111,2199,247
Berkeley767871522908732
Grant125011357831304949
Hampshire15881846109419471,183
Hardy1429144792017091,073
Jefferson526445385499421
Mineral118113458351335920
Morgan602743412678433
Pendleton1373116386112971,088
Dist. 2 Subtotal8,7168,9955,8129,6776,799
Braxton1401162692116601,100
Clay528475329618388
Lewis13651692116618751,238
Nicholas121282487112741,041
Pocahontas11529618311008920
Randolph18041329129116591,610
Upshur12831396100917041,392
Webster8177176321080941
Dist. 3 Subtotal9,5629,0207,05010,8788,630
Fayette9968357251214885
Greenbrier18751509137218161,445
McDowell00000
Mercer682536402843633
Monroe15691466100414621,092
Raleigh749579506895643
Summers1077973657999653
Wyoming00000
Dist. 4 Subtotal6,9485,8984,6667,2295,351
Boone898725519868573
Cabell750763421641672
Kanawha1164138073015471,053
Lincoln131911247201312842
Logan00000
Mason16761495100214881,266
Mingo00000
Putnam119112105651114987
Wayne1041870528963814
Dist. 5 Subtotal8,0397,5674,4857,9336,207
Calhoun77011645041063703
Doddridge95012436151376941
Gilmer91114276691435790
Jackson16301917110718701,482
Pleasants371438273492332
Ritchie15122091112320241,414
Roane1391189392718461,172
Tyler92210005661064850
Wirt84610916811152771
Wood14031580101115561,182
Dist. 6 Subtotal10,70613,8447,47613,8789,637
State Total56,38356,52337,45060,81445,871

 

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