The golf course at Stonewall Resort in Lewis County is accustomed to guys swinging sticks, but if the Natural Resources Commission agrees, sticks could be flying there this fall.
Officials with the West Virginia State Park System are hoping Stonewall will become the next state park to benefit from a controlled deer hunt on park property.
"Our management goal at Stonewall is to reduce the deer herd on the park from approximately 60 to 70 deer per square mile to approximately 15 deer per square mile,” said Bob Beanblossom with the state park system.
Park officials say controlled hunts have proven to be the most effective way to trim deer numbers and reduce the negative impacts they have on the parks’ eco system.
"One of the things we looked at is the damage which was occurring to the golf course with high numbers of deer," said Beanblossom.
The lush and fertilized fairway grasses are a magnet for whitetails with a sweet tooth for Bermuda grass. High cost landscaping is also taking a hard hit from browsing deer that are helping themselves at the resort buffet. It’s not an unusual problem for the state park system.
Beanblossom says they are also looking at deer problems at Cacapon, Twin Falls, and Canaan Valley State Parks. Previously the DNR has staged controlled hunts with great success at Blennerhassett Island State Park.
Each area has different features and will therefore require different rules. The Stonewall plan calls for very restricted access to hunters on the golf course in which hunters would be confined to an assigned stand for the duration of the hunt. However, other parts of the park are remote enough that Beanblossom says hunters would be allowed to hunt freely anywhere within the designated boundary.
The proposed dates for the Stonewall hunt are November 17-19.
"We felt these dates would provide the least inconvenience to resort guests, the least interference with overall resort operations, and a period of lower public use on the park,” said Beanblossom.
The Natural Resources Commission must approve the idea following a public comment period.